BARDO STATES – exhibition and performance

14 to 23 March, ZSenne Art Gallery Brussels (Anneessensstraat 2, 1000 Brussel

The Monastery invites you to dive into the Bardo States: liminal moments between living and dying, in or out of your body, where you balance on the edge of the unknown. The Monastery goes DIY (Do It Yourself): in the performative video installations, you can prepare yourself to leave the body, aided by the monks. Twice a day the monks also initiate the rituals themselves and organize a wake for the monk who is buried alive.

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Bardo States are states of transition. When you move out of one situation but have not yet arrived in the other. In Tibetan Buddhism, after the physical body dies, we still travel for a long period of time through the Bardo, meeting up with our fears, losses, attachments and grief in the form of demons (or gods) and possibly even torturous events. But in our daily lives as well (which itself is a Bardo state between birth and dying) there are several moments in which decisions for change announce themselves, but we are not yet ready to move on and let go.

In the Bardo you confront what it is that prevents you from moving on. The demons lurking in the crevices of the mind and body. The anxieties that keep you hostage. The good intentions that prevent you from exploring your juicy insides/insights. The idea of a ‘good life’ that is stifling your creative juices. The concept of our selves that is harnessing our vitality, creating habits and obstacles on the way. Truths and convictions. Certainties and expectations. Reducing the space of life to the size of a handkerchief.

Going through the Bardo is a process of cleaning up the shit. Or, to put it like my teacher once did, to put your head down the toilet. It is surprising how refreshing that can be. The return full of lightness and potential. Coming out of the ground (as the monks literally do) is a moment of reset. Not only because you are no longer weighted down by what was bothering you, but even more so because you overcame the weight already while being under.


BARDO STATES, Zsenne Art Gallery, 14-23/3, 10 to 20h. Live Burial ritual and Excavation ritual: 14-20/3 at 12pm and 6pm.


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