To start off the new year, Galerie Thierry Bigaignon introduces a new program called “Matters that matter” through which, from time to time, it will invite foreign artists to exhibit for the first time in Paris on meaningful documentary subjects. Australian photographer Tobi Wilkinson will be the first invitee, showing her work on the Gyuto Monks of Tibet.
It took Tobi Wilkinson nine years of working with the Gyuto Monks to capture the slice of life within the monastery, and depict what is as much a state of mind as it is an architectural fact. Even though Tobi Wilkinson was an outsider, both as a westerner and a woman, she has been able to immerse herself with “fresh eyes” into their world.
The photographer renders her fascination for those human beings who embark on a spiritual journey and her photographs illustrate how long, intense and difficult learning is. Their Order was founded in 1475 and is one of the main tantric colleges of the Gelug tradition. The life of a Monk is not just one of sitting, chanting and meditating. It’s repetitive, it’s monotonous and that in itself is as much a part of their spiritual practice as the esoteric nature of the studies that they undertake.
Gyuto is a collection of pictures that are full of compassion, grace, and poetry, showing the contradiction of the impermanence of life against the continuity of tradition — an unbroken one of 600 years.