Buddha exhibition at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site draws to a close with visitor numbers far in excess of 107,000

By the time it drew to a close on Sunday, March 5, 2017, many more than 107,000 visitors had visited a major Buddha exhibition at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site. The exhibition – entitled “Buddha: 2,000 years of Buddhist art in 232 masterpieces – Collectors share their treasures” – was hosted under the patronage of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. This largest-ever pan-Asian exhibition of Buddhist art exceeded the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site’s expectations in terms of both visitor numbers and public response.

While 67 percent of the Buddha exhibition’s visitors traveled from abroad and other German states, 33 percent came from the Saarland. Around 30 percent of visitors came from outside the German-speaking region, and almost 5 percent made the journey from non-European countries and the Far East.

“The Buddha exhibition has seen Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site attract its highest number of tourists to date. With more than 107,000 visitors, 'Buddha: 2,000 years of Buddhist art in 232 masterpieces – Collectors share their treasures' at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site was one of Germany’s top ten exhibitions and one of the country’s most successful exhibitions. We have been very gratified by the positive response to Buddha from both visitors and the media. We wish to thank our partners and international lenders for their tremendous support. Without their cooperation, this exhibition project – the only one of its kind in the world – would not have been possible,” said Meinrad Maria Grewenig, General Director of the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site.

Reactions to the Buddha exhibition at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site were overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic, both in the media and among visitors. In an eleven-page feature, the Hong Kong-based trade magazine “Art of Asia” described the Buddha exhibition at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site as the “most noteworthy [...] exhibition of pan-Asian Buddhist art in several years and one of the best of all time.” 

The high level of public interest was also reflected in the large numbers of people who participated in supporting activities and events. For example, a total of more than 3,500 visitors took part in a lecture series (which comprised eight lectures), an inter-religious dialog, and a “Tibetan Evening”. These events were run in cooperation with Saarland University, Saarbrücken; Trier University; and Tibet House, Frankfurt. Qigong courses in the Blower Hall and Friday meditations with monks from the What Somdey monastery were also extremely popular. In total, around 1,100 visitors took part in these events. The project’s other highlights included an exhibition of 45 large photographs about Buddhism by Steve McCurry and the Eightfold Path to Enlightenment, which was created especially for the Buddha exhibition.

“Buddha: 2,000 years of Buddhist art in 232 masterpieces – Collectors share their treasures” at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site exhibited 232 masterpieces, including art from the ancient region of Gandhara (in what was then northwest India) as well as India, China, Japan, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Nepal and Tibet. In so doing, the exhibition shed insights into the culture of one of the oldest world religions and the image that defines this religion: that of the Buddha.

 

On Sunday, April 9, 2017, the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site will host the fourth UrbanArt Biennale ® 2017, presenting the work of 84 artists from 21 countries and four continents across 100,000 square meters of exhibition space. Urban art is 21st-century art, and the biennale in the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site is the biggest urban art project in the world. As well as providing an overview of current trends in the global urban art scene, the biennale will take a more detailed look at South American urban art and “Urban Art 2.0”. Figures such as Banksy (UK), Okuda (Spain), Jordan Seiler (USA), and Vermibus (Spain) deploy interventionist strategies to bore deep into observers’ consciousness. For seven years now, the European Center for Art and Industrial Heritage in Völklingen, Saarland, has been exploring the most recent developments within urban art along with various perspectives on this 21st-century art form. The 150 most important artists working within this genre have already been exhibited at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site. Like the last biennale, the fourth UrbanArt Biennale 2017 will be accompanied by a lecture series examining current academic perspectives on urban art.

And from May 6, 2017, Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site will present another world premiere in the form of an exhibition entitled “The Incas: Gold. Power. God. 3,000 Years of Civilization.” In Incan and pre-Incan cultures, gold – the “sun’s beads” – was a symbol and expression of divinity. The Spanish conquerors, in contrast, saw only the material value of gold. The Spaniards did not just conquer Peru; their hunger for gold ultimately resulted in the eradication of an entire civilization. The mythology of Inca gold is rooted in the irreconcilability of these two value systems. In this exhibition, the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site takes up where a previous exhibition, “IncaGold” (2004), left off, presenting several new exhibits to shed insights into the civilizations of the Incan and pre-Incan periods. The key exhibits come from the Larco Museum in Lima and Cusco, owner of the world’s largest private collection of ancient Peruvian art. In addition, the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site will exhibit gold exhibits from Musée des Jacobins in Auch, France, which owns one of Europe’s largest collections of pre-Columbian art. These exhibits have never been on public display before


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