The National Gallery of Victoria has installed one of its largest works – a monumental 18 metre long Buddha. The work has been especially commissioned for the blockbuster summer exhibition, the inaugural NGV Triennial.
Weighing approximately 15 tonnes, artist Xu Zhen’s sculpture features a replica of a famous reclining Buddha statue adorned with 3D scanned and cast Greco-Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical sculptures, fusing together Eastern and Western cultural heritages in order to break down boundaries.
The sculpture is in 20 sections that have been meticulously pieced together by six staff from Xu Zhen’s studio. Fifteen white sculptures have been lifted by crane and positioned on top of the reclining Buddha.
“People are already scratching their heads about how we got this in here,” NGV curator Simon Maidment told me. The NGV had to ensure all the pieces fit through the doorways and entry points.
Mr Maidment said, “When the gallery was built in 1968, art of the day was quite different and certainly it wasn’t presenting 18 metre long sculptures at that time.”
Occurring every three years, the NGV Triennial is a free, gallery-wide exhibition of contemporary art, design and architecture that features the work of more than 100 artists and designers from more than 30 countries around the world.