Peinture à l'huile
H. 88.5 x l. 146 cm
Don manuel, Lebadang, Myshu
Circa 2001, at the age of 80, Lebadang entered the last period of his career, in which he offered a more peaceful synthesis of several themes that had concerned him throughout his life. On a deceptively uniform, monochromatic background he applied vibrant touches, suggesting a dense, luminous and shifting impalpable matter that seems to contain the potential emergence of a form. The peaceful, introverted face of the Buddha appears on this background as an astral presence, the only signs of his celestial divinity. His gentle facial features and full, well defined lips are reminiscent of ancient Khmer statuary, a memory of the painter’s journey to Angkor and visits to Parisian museums.
Lebadang’s Bouddhas were succeeded by his Cosmic Family series. They depict a couple carrying a child, near the benevolent face of Buddha. The light effects in the painting suggest the polished stainless-steel sculptures Lebadang had produced on this recurrent theme since the 1980s. These pieces reflect the world around them on their mirror surface, and appear evanescent, despite their inherent solidity. As sensory illusions, they echo the Buddhist conception of the world whose illusory essence is rooted in its constant state of change. Recreated here in two-dimensional form, as intercessors in the foreground, they draw our gaze into the fathomless blue background pierced with rays of light. The light seems to spring from beneath the painting’s surface, the artist’s final intuition of a spiritual world beyond.