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The Lightness of Being - Rossi & Rossi

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ROSSI & Rossi’s Summer Exhibitions include The Lightness of Being by Tibetan painter Tsering Nyandak – on display at the gallery from July 3 to to August 1, 2008.

The recent events in Tibet have inevitably influenced a number of the paintings that will be exhibited in London. In an interview conducted by Kabir Mansingh Heimshath, a DPhil candidate in Anthropology at Oxford, that will be published in the exhibition catalogue, Nyandak described how he witnessed the riots and painted Middle Path immediately afterwards.

“I first heard the shouting … Then I saw the beating, burning … and I began to feel quite uneasy – especially when I saw civilians were being beaten … So I thought about doing this kid in the middle of all the smoke and tanks. The child, I feel, is like Innocence – a bit like civilians and ordinary people caught in the middle of these problems.”

Two works on show, Concrete and Buddha Head address the situation in Amdo when an area was developed and nomads were moved into concrete houses. As Nyandak explains:

“In doing that a lot of the traditional ways of living changed. They could not do their normal pilgrimage, they couldn’t graze their animals on the grasslands … development brings on the disappearance of a lot of traditional elements. So all those things I wanted to show in this painting. And this one Buddha Head moving the Buddha head somewhere could be like a continuation of the previous one … One thing is removed for another to be put in place. The head is carried away by the crane.”

While Heimshath observes: “In the late 1990s there were few artists in Lhasa that strayed from the romantic portrayal of standard ‘Tibetan’ subject matter, such as cute nomad girls, old monks, desolate landscapes and Buddhist ruins. Nyandak’s work, on the other hand, includes urban landscapes and contemporary life expressed with distorted irony and shades of depression.”

Nyandak was born in Lhasa in 1974 and he lives and works in that city today. From 1985 to 1993 he lived and studied in Dharamsala, India and in 1993, after returning to Tibet, he studied art under Tsewang Tashi, a leading Tibetan artist and professor at Tibet University. He has participated in exhibitions in China, Germany and Nepal and is a founding member of the dynamic Gedun Choephel Artists’ Guild.

Times: Monday to Friday – 10am to 5.30pm; Saturday – 11am to 4pm.

Rossi & Rossi Ltd, 16 Clifford Street, London, W1S 3RG.

Telephone: 020 7734 6487.