Sand, wood, acrylic, mixed materials
Nirvana is a large-scale site-specific installation and performance piece. The artwork consists of several baccarat and roulette tables set on a casino carpet. Two to three performers construct the game pattern in the manner of a sand mandala, a ritual symbol of colored sand used by Tibetan Buddhist monks to depict processes of creation and destruction. With tables requisite for the game of gambling, XU ZHEN® denotes it as an activity that is at once as old as mankind and, at the same time, a symbol of capitalistic greed and productivity. Switching out traditional mandala patterns for the designs of table games, XU ZHEN® connects the two juxtaposed practices, exploring similarities in their rules, ceremonies, and the passage from existence to nonexistence. The playful coalescing liberates gambling and religious rituals from their usual semantics, introducing a new interpretative framework that transcends the normative values assigned to them.