SOAS University of London

Centre of Buddhist Studies

Altar Modern: Buddhist-inspired Artists and Visual Practices in Contemporary China

Francesca Tarocco (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)

Date: 19 January 2018Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 19 January 2018Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Brunei Gallery Room: BGLT

Type of Event: Lecture


Altar Modern looks at contemporary representations of Buddhism in the visual arts in China. Drawing from a large body of previously unexamined paintings, drawings, photographs and installations, it maps the history of Buddhist visual practices onto a larger trans-regional history of China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and North America between 1997 and 2017. It analyses works by artists from across different generations and locations as they reflect both literally and metaphorically on fundamental themes of Chinese Buddhist iconography and ritual, including the relationship between merit making and image making, the use of calligraphy and writing as religious practice, ideas of image consecration, relics, and the ritual use of objects, as sites invoking a "reworking of the imaginary" for contemporary artists.


Francesca Tarocco is Associate Professor of Buddhist Studies and Chinese Religious Studies at Ca' Foscari University of Venice. She is also Visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures at NYU Shanghai and Co-Founder and Director of the Shanghai Studies Society.  

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Buddhist Studies

Contact email: