NGV commences installation of spectacular 18m long work by Chinese contemporary artist Xu Zhen

NGV Eternity Buddah in Nirvana by Xu Zhen (installation view) - photo by Eugene Hyland.jpgThe National Gallery of Victoria has begun installing one of its largest works specially commissioned for its summer exhibition, the NGV Triennial.

Spanning 18m in length, Xu Zhen’s monumental installation, Eternity-Buddha in Nirvana… brings together different cultural traditions by combining replicas of a famous reclining Buddha statue with 3D scanned and cast Greco-Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical sculptures.

As visitors arrive in Federation Court they will encounter the sheer scale and beauty of this world-premiere installation by renowned Chinese contemporary artist Xu Zhen,” said Tony Ellwood, Director NGV. “Xu’s work brings together elements from Eastern and Western cultural heritages to promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.”

Xu Zhen is a leading international contemporary artist whose works often take the form of immense sculptural installations that address Eastern and Western assumptions about Chinese art and the global art market.

As the basis of his installation at the NGV, Xu has recreated the colossal form of a reclining Buddha dating from the High Tang Dynasty (705–781 CE). The original was built into a man-made grotto, the Nirvana Cave, near the wealthy and cosmopolitan Chinese city of Dunhuang, situated at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road.

The artist has also created replicas of historical sculptures based on the gods and heroes of Greek and Roman mythology. Each of the 3D scanned and cast figures adorning the great Buddha has its own colourful history, such as the famous Dying Gaul, an ancient Roman marble, itself a copy of a lost Greek bronze original.

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 around the world, and will be on display at NGV International from 15 December 2017 to 15 April 2018. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Installation of Xu Zhen’s Eternity Buddha in Nirvana takes place at NGV – photo by Eugene Hyland