Son of Rimpoche

LIV.2010.130.4
Pierced and painted beer can, base containing pin pricked image of a seated Lama image, accompanying digital print of can's interior when lit. Son of Rimpoche is one of Lamdark more accessible works. Lamdark’s beer cans are pierced with carefully crafted images and icons that transform them into intriguing tin light boxes. The beer cans refer to Duchamp’s final work, Étant donnés, a three-dimensional installation that viewers observe by peering through a small peephole to witness an artistic diorama. But Lamdark’s peepholes reveal wholly different subjects: Tibetan imagery ranging from demons to rimpoches and skateboarders to lamas. This juxtaposition of the sacred and profane is a constantly re-emerging theme within his work reflecting the globalisation of Tibetan Buddhism as a product for consumption by China and western nations. Lamdark’s work follows a strong tradition within Tibetan art for creating portraits of important lama’s and leaders who have been influential in the development of Buddhism. Rather than following the stylistic principles set out when depicting the Buddha or Boddhisattva, these portraits are often startling in their individualism, showing those portrayed with beards, rotund stomachs and balding heads. Lamdark’s work continues this lineage, whilst this is a portrait of his father, the reincarnate lama, it is also a statement on the changing status of the Tibetan lama from the sacred figure, closeted in prayer, to global media savvy commodity.