The Rubin Museum of Art’s upcoming group exhibition “The Power of Intention: Reinventing the (Prayer) Wheel” that opens on March 1, 2019 will feature Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai.
“The Power of Intention” brings together traditional and contemporary art to illuminate the relationship between our intentions, commitments, and actions. Inspired by concepts related to Buddhist prayer wheels—ritual objects containing thousands of written prayers and mantras, the show looks at how we can empower ourselves to create positives change within and between us.
Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai’s A Supplication and Spiral Incense with Mantras will be featured in the exhibition.
A Supplication, a water color drawing on rice paper, depicts Guru Rinpoche mantra dispersing into space from a seed syllable at the center, which is how Tibetan prayer wheels are imagined to function. Prayer wheels contain mantras written on paper that are rolled and inserted into cylindrical containers. When rotated in a clockwise motion, the whirling of the wheel releases the mantras and prayers into the world for the benefit of all.
Tsai’s second work Spiral Incense with Mantras reflects the same sentiment. She will inscribe mantras on three large spiral incense pieces that can only be commissioned and made in Taiwan. Tsai will perform the mantra written on the incense for museum visitors before it is hung in the gallery. The work will be located in the same space as Incense Mantra, a video installation by Tsai currently on view that shows the burning of incense inscribed with mantras. This juxtaposition will create a direct visual relationship between the video, the actual incense, and the drawing of the whirling mantras to emphasize the primary ideas of the exhibition and Tsai’s diverse scope of creativity and accomplishment.
On Friday, March 1 at 3pm, Tsai will write the mantras of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche” on spiral incense custom-made in Taiwan before it’s hung in the gallery for the show.
Apart from Tsai, other international artists featured in the show include Monika Bravo (Bogota), Alexandra Dementieva (Russia), Youdhistir Maharjan (Nepal), and Scenocosme (France).
“We may not think of our intentions as sources of power; however, they are the driving force behind each of our actions. This exhibition invites us to change how we think about power and consider that we can use our own intentions to empower ourselves and create change for ourselves and others,” said Elena Pakhoutova, curator of Himalayan Art and organizer of “Power of Intention.” She added, "Commitment, considered an integral component of an intention, powers a person to carry the intention into action, however small it may be. Then, a conscious positive action replaces what might hav been a habit or mindless act. Prayer wheels are a symbolic reference point for visitors' experiences of the contemporary works of art in the exhibition, where each work relates to a specific notion that helps reinforce our individual intentions and spark positive action."
Artist at Work: Charwei Tsai
Inscribing the Spiral Incense Mantra
Friday, March 1, 3-5pm
Free with Admission
Opening Night Celebration
Friday, March 1; 6-11pm