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Shaolin: Temple of Zen, Photographs by Justin Guariglia at The Ben Maltz Gallery
Justin Guariglia.


LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design is pleased to present the exhibition: Shaolin: Temple of Zen, Photographs by Justin Guariglia, February 2 – March 29, 2008. Public Reception: Saturday, February 2, 5-7pm. With special kung fu and calligraphy demonstration by Shaolin Monk Shi De Chao from Henan, China, followed by book signing hosted by Hennessey + Ingalls Art & Architecture Books.

Shaolin: Temple of Zen is a photography exhibition based on the book of the same name by photographer Justin Guariglia published by Aperture. The exhibition premieres at the Ben Maltz Gallery on Saturday, February 2, 2008 with a public reception from 5-7pm that includes a walkthrough with the photographer as well as a special kung fu and calligraphy demonstration by Shaolin Monk Shi De Chao from Henan, China, followed by book signing. On view through March 29, this exhibition and publication are organized by the Aperture foundation, a not-forprofit organization devoted to photography and the visual arts, and presented at the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art and Design. Additional sponsorship provided by Hahnemühle Fine Art.

Shaolin: Temple of Zen is an exhibition and publication that documents, for the first time in history, the exceptionally private warrior monks of the fifteen-hundred-year-old Shaolin Temple in the Henan province of China, renowned for its association with Zen Buddhism and martial arts. Comprised of 99 pieces, including 6 video installations, Shaolin: Temple of Zen brings to light the secretive society of the Chinese Buddhist sect dedicated to preserving a form of kung fu known as a “vehicle of Zen.” Revealing the monks’ devotional disciplines and capturing insightful portraits of the venerated warriors, the works offer an exclusive opportunity to explore the energy and spirit of Shaolin’s unique practice.

Guariglia’s work explores the nature of ‘qi’ (pronounced chee), the concept of a universal energy, as well as the themes of ritual, spirituality, and Eastern philosophies through still photography and video. Carmen Winant of Philadelphia Weekly asserts that “the imagery simultaneously seethes with energy and casts a meditative silence. It evokes both the ancient and the contemporary.”

A student in China in the mid 90s, Guariglia took an interest in Taoist and Buddhist philosophies, spending eight years studying the mystery behind the Shaolin art form. He earned the trust of the Shaolin monks to create a compassionate record of the art form and those who are the keepers of these traditions. Notably, Guariglia’s publication features a foreword written by the Abbot of the Shaolin Temple, Shi Yong Xin.

Justin Guariglia: Biography - Guariglia was born in Maplewood, New Jersey in 1974 and lived and worked in Asia for almost a decade before returning to live in New York City in 2006. He is a Contributing Editor to National Geographic Traveler Magazine and has worked for Smithsonian and Newsweek.

Guariglia was nominated for the International Center of Photography’s Young Photographer Infinity Award, received an Eddie Adams Workshop award, and was named one of the top “30 Young Photographers under 30” by Photo District News. In 2003, Guariglia began collaborating with artist Zoe Chen, previously a fashion designer for Issey Miyake. Their recent works are gelatin silver print composite pieces and videos comprised of Guariglia’s photographs of the Shaolin monks. www.guariglia-chen.com.






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