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Writing 93 Buddhas
Oliver Siebeck

27.08.2010 to 14.11.2010

Rudimentary sheets, sparsely typewritten in various rows, together form a graphic grid-like structure that at first glance appears unreadable. Each sheet comprises characters numbering either 36 or 57 strokes of the keyboard, with these two figures forming two constants as a result. If these constants are subsequently divided by numbers 1 to 9, various arrangements arise, forming symmetrical, asymmetrical, horizontal and vertical rows.

In this work, Oliver Siebeck was inspired by a Buddhist stele dating from 10th century China on permanent display in the Museum of Asian Art. On two different sides, the stele depicts figures of the Buddha, numbering either 7 by 5 or 8 by 7, each crowned by a solitary figure at their peak. Siebeck recreates the sense of fascinating clarity and inevitability in the seemingly random composition of the stele and adds a new dimension to our view of it. Every stroke of the keyboard printed on the sheets is a Buddha, consisting of the letters B, U, D, D, H and A, is thereby readable and, moreover, can be read in all directions, in an imaginary depth as well as vertically and horizontally, from left to right and vice versa. Surface and body, both retained in relief, are assimilated and, through the incorporation of a fourth dimension, that of time, rearranged and joined together in a new structure.

Instead of accepting the stele at face value, Oliver Siebeck scrutinizes our ways of seeing and thinking. His dialogue with an artwork in the museum casts the original object in a new light and unveils new modes of perception to the viewer.

The show is supplemented by the presentation of a film that bears a similarly ascetic look as the typewritten pages and which also makes reference to the same through the pressing logic of time.