1Shawn Bose = "This modern interpretation is reminiscent of the pagoda of Hōryū-ji in Japan, built in the 7th century and remains one of the oldest wooden structures still in existence in the world."
2Justin Halloran = "The history of the Japanese pagoda is tied to the history of East Asia itself. These multi-storied structures followed the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road, and although these structures do not necessarily have a strictly religious purpose, Buddhist temples often feature pagodas as sites of worship. In Japan, the complex religious history of the country means that although pagodas have a Buddhist focus, they may also represent general centers of faith for both Buddhism and the native religion of Shintoism.Read more here"
4Colin Doyle = "Stupa is a sculpture by Tom Sachs. It’s cast in bronze but looks like cardboard. Sachs first made this form in cardboard, made a mold from it, poured molten bronze into the mold, and finished the cast bronze to look matte, papery, rumpled, and imperfect—just like the original cardboard sculpture.Most of Sachs’s sculptures are handmade recreations of products of modern industrial design (and in this case, historical architectural design). He’s made boomboxes, Barbies, cameras, a life-sized spaceship—the list never seems to end, he’s very prolific—and even though they’re all cobbled together from wood, cardboard, epoxy, and ceramic, they often (surprisingly) function just as well as their mass-produced counterparts.Sachs trains his army of assistants to approach art-making tasks with a rigorous messiness that has become a trademark of the Tom Sachs Studio. The goal of this practice is to show as much of the work as possible that went into producing any given object—a reversal of modernization’s trend toward products with cleaner, simpler, more-perfect edges.The scars and imperfections in a Sachs sculpture tell the story of how it came into being, give it a history and a personality, and remove it from the realm of miraculous conception (think iPhones, automobiles, even the stupa or pagoda this sculpture is based on—it seems hard to believe any human was responsible for the design and manufacture of such things). Sachs’s conspicuously handmade objects stress the importance of self-awareness and skepticism when interacting with the modern world, to help avoid falling into the trap of blind, thoughtless consumption.Tom Sachs’s Stupa is one sculpture among many others in a larger installation—a Sachsian take on a Japanese tea garden, or roji. The installation includes all the components associated with a traditional tea ceremony—a waiting room, wooden clog/flip-flops (geta), a gate into the garden (that one must be invited to pass through), stepping stones (made from plywood and epoxy) that lead through the roji, a fountain to wash hands and rinse mouths, a sculpture made from household paper products (e.g. tampons, cardboard tubes from used rolls of toilet paper) that is cast in bronze and looks like a bonsai tree, and of course a tea house with tatami mats and ceramic pinch-pot chawans (emblazoned with Sachs’s NASA logo). Every detail is considered.Chief among Sachs’s interest in the tea ceremony is its fetishization of ritual. Sachs describes all of his artwork as “about the rituals of my daily life,” which include eating at fast food restaurants, listening to music, coveting beautiful pieces of design (from Apple products to Chanel dresses), and above all—making objects of his own. In the artist’s own words:"When I critique culture, I’m often complicit. I eat at McDonalds. I shop at Chanel. I love these places as much as I hate them for wrecking our world. My girlfriend looks gorgeous in Chanel. There’s nothing like it. Except maybe Alaïa. But the point is it’s out there, it’s real, and it’s not going away. So the more we can be in touch with what’s going on with ourselves and the world, the better we can avoid being a victim of it."The traditional Japanese tea ceremony, just like Tom Sachs’s artwork, is a celebration of moments of quiet and often overlooked beauty. Given the refined solemnity of the traditional tea ceremony, it is a particularly rich subject for Sachs to address with his trademark lighthearted, absurd, mischievous sense of humor. Stupa is central to Sachs’s tea ceremony: a symbol of his own life and practice as well as the longstanding spiritual and cultural traditions that inform who we are today."