“Everything beautiful has a mark of eternity.” - Simone Weil
Hope for paradise has sparked the imagination of humankind across history and many religions. Here After is a group exhibition featuring artworks that delve into this imagination, exploring various religious or metaphysical positions, suppositions, or questions.
From Pure Land Buddhism’s chant “Namu Amida Butsu” (“I take refuge in Amida Buddha”) to Christianity’s prayer for the Kingdom to be “on earth as it is in heaven,” the concepts of paradise are as diverse as those who hope for it. For millennia, artists have been depicting the various contours of this hope, and their work continues, informing the contemporary artists featured in Here After. Engaging an ontology of peace, their work dwells upon our shared yearning for all that is good. Some shroud this hope in the mists of a distant future, but these artists bring eternity into close, immediate proximity—as though we are living in it now. We may not see it, but what we see is not all there is.
Human beings have often yearned for images of heaven, to define and shape heaven, write lists and draw maps of it. Five main thematics frame the exhibition. “Here and in Heaven” offers works of art where paradise in some form appears in this life as a glimpse of what is to come. “Here to Remember” explores remembrance of the dead through distinct traditions that engage tangibly with ideas of the afterlife. “The Architecture of After” presents artists who involve the physicality and “placeness” of heaven in their work. “Between Here and After” accounts for distinct visions of heaven where prophets and visionaries pass images and messages back and forth between this world and the next. And finally “Hereafter and the Unknown” provides a place for the mystery, the profound unknowability of God.