This video work by Charwai Tsai was commissioned years back by The Esplanade, Singapore, and still resonates with the power of the tantric syllable Āḥ, the last contained in “The Hundred-Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva” which is the most important mantra for the Sakya school, or the ancient school before Gelupa reforms in the 17th century in Tibet. Āḥ means “I am with you”, overpassing duality and so the suffering that might comprise without the understanding of it. Charwai’s work is simple: a modulation of the sound āḥ by several voices which cripple the surface of water on which the same syllable is written with ink. Gesture of fragility posing with a brush ink on water, the sound with the qi that creates waves on the water (here as a surface to write on), all this is suspended in MAO garden as if an Eden on Earth.
Surpassing the idea of duality is the way to go beyond the false existence and so understanding the true nature of the Tathāgata or 如来 in chinese, the Buddha. This installation where sound makes the work existing and the visual part support it as a commentary, seems the perfect introduction to Buddha10 that brings into MAO questions related to many aspect of Buddhism and its representations. Āḥ stands as the sounds of contemplation of unity and as such works ideally as the entry point to ritual configurations that bring sound as the quintessence of meditation. To meditate on Vajrasattva is the same as to meditate upon all the buddhas: the hundred-syllable mantra is the quintessence of all mantras.
The work is shown as part of the collaborative project within Fondazione Torino Musei called So will your voice vibrate and that sees Palazzo Madama, GAM and MAO expanding together the program of Artissima.