Joshu's Dog (2021) is a re-imagining of the visual language of Zen Buddhism, referencing the tradition of Zen "koans" developed during the Tang dynasty in China (618–907). Koans are the literary remnants of Zen practitioners leaving behind society and spending decades thinking about nothingness. They take the form of short anecdotes or conversations noted down by disciples.
The series is named after one of the better known Koans, in which the monk Joshu asks his student whether a dog has Buddha nature or not. The images mirror the riddle-like structure of the Koans, where the start of the story makes sense but then one inevitably comes to an abrupt dead end or an unanswerable question. Made during the Covid-19 pandemic, the series is an attempt to get out of one's head which leads in exactly the opposite direction; into a quagmire of images, fragments and unfinished thoughts.
Installation views of Joshu's Dog in "Berlin, God and the World" a group exhibition at the Guardini Gallery (April 2021).