Sand And Skin Become A Powerful Allegory In Anitya By Isabelle Chapuis

One of the fundamental tenets of Buddhism is anitya—an ideology commonly translated as impermanence, and the title of Chapuis’ most recent photographic series. This principle proposes that all existence is evanescent and that to achieve enlightenment acceptance of such transience is necessary. In Chapuis’ series ‘Anitya’, sand and sea become an allegory for such impermanence. A cast of characters are found moving through and across this ocean edge, covered in sand. “The sand evokes human individuality”, Chapuis explains. “From the infinitely large to the immensely small, all alike but all unique. In its clusters, it becomes abundance; in its lightness, it flows fluidly over the skin”. In her words that accompany the series, Chapuis considers such vicissitude of forms: From sandcastles, where sand becomes the metaphorical “material for the alchemist”, destined for watery ends regardless of architectural integrity; to sand inside an hourglass, that enables an endless turning of time. To her, sand is more than an earthen material, it is a “Symbol of all possibilities, the sand carries in him the promise of eternal change, he imagines a horizon with no end.”

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