Erenlai - Displaying items by tag: bendu
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 11:46

The Gift of Attentiveness

At the beginning of a new year, what wish do I want to express for myself and for the people whom I know and love? Let me think… Maybe, you’ll consider my wish to be rather unambitious (but think twice); I just wish all of us to cherish and nurture a tiny little virtue – a virtue often neglected: Attentiveness. Attentiveness to what? Well… to nothing in particular. Pure attentiveness. Attention to anything that may happen, to silence as well as music - to the changes that are occurring within oneself, society, the cosmos… Or, maybe, if such attentiveness is truly to be assigned an object: attention to the current of life that runs within the depth of my inner being.

There are privileged moments when the breeze of the night, the smell of incense or an unexpected moment of solitude will suddenly free us from our occupations. Our social Self is no longer our center. We calmly descend into depths that we had not explored yet, discerning layers of feelings and existence that challenge the way we used to perceive ourselves. This might happen indeed at specific, privileged times, but it is always prepared by long periods of maturing – periods that may have been marked by troubles and sorrow as well as by peace. Things just happen within us because we have been attentive, even if we were not fully conscious of the attentiveness we were exerting. Pure attention is not truly an effort we make - rather it is a state into which we enter. And the abyss of life opens up at some point, so that we may penetrate the inner grottoes, and contemplate the running water that bring us to our Origin.

In keeping with the water metaphor: Looking at the sea from the shore, till the waves have become the very music of our soul, may tell us something about entering pure attentiveness. The peace that comes from our surrendering to the current of life makes the same sound as the waves do. Taken into the interplay between the waves, the sand and the wind, we experience the innermost and outermost of our Being – what is more external to me than the external world, what is more internal to me that my most secret thoughts, all fuse into One…

In the ordinary situations of our life it is often very difficult to sense this secret world that inhabits us. We rather feel prisoners of a courtyard of bricks and mortar, and have to take solace from the rarefied foliage of a lonely tree… Still, Hope helps us to grow in the virtue of attentiveness, so as to make us able to fracture the closed walls of our courtyard. Here is my wish for you, dear readers of Renlai and of eRenlai: in 2012, may you be rewarded of your efforts at patience, hope and attention, so as to experience anew the current of life that runs deep within the universe, within humankind, and within your own souls…

Painting by Bendu

Wednesday, 09 November 2011 11:51

Breathing and Painting

"What I try to paint is the very breathing that makes me paint." This is the way Benoit Vermander introduced his works during the opening of his exhibit at DPARK, Shanghai (November 5-30). The seventy ink and oil paintings gathered in this beautiful location were mainly organized around three topics: faces, birds and forest. But each time, explained Benoit, the underlying element was the breeze - the inner breeze that makes the face change and come anew to the light of the day; the breeze that supports the flight of the bird; the breeze that makes the forest palpitate and become the place where one wishes to wander and lose oneself.

Chinese paintings and oil paintings seemed to be melting into one, as the one and the same breath guides the hand that painted them, beyond differences in techniques and cultural undertones. The breath of the painter became the one inhaled by the visitors who had come to take new strength and inspiration in a show made even more poetic by the large windows of the main exhibit room, opening up on a landscape of high-rise buildings and slowly balancing bamboos....





Friday, 30 October 2009 19:45


Orange in Taiwan is a color associated both with sun and moon. It does not remind one of a fruit, but rather of the stars and planets with whom Earth dances in the universe. It enriches Taiwan’s rituals and feasts with cosmic, epic undertones.
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Friday, 30 October 2009 06:51

Red, White and Blue

There is a kind of violence in the association of these three colors, or at least a sense of strength, of energy ready to overflow. Here, Taiwan shows a side of is nature that its gentleness often hides…

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Friday, 30 October 2009 06:50

Grey and Pink

There are so many Greys… Grey of the sky, Grey of the walls, Grey of the clouds, of the rivers and of the streets… In Taiwan, the Grey is often infused with a secret luminescence. Grey does not precede the night, it announces an explosion of light still contained in the vague darkness. Grey is the color of waiting. Not because nothing is happening, just because all the colors and events are condensed and purified in our incandescent vigil.

Pink is the metamorphosis of Grey, when at last it decides to smile and to overcome for a while the melancholy from which its shades originate.

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Friday, 30 October 2009 06:47

Yellow and Green

A most ambiguous association… Between joy and sorrow, Autumn and Spring, dusk and morning…

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Friday, 30 October 2009 06:44

Green and Blue

Of course, Green and Blue are intimately associated by Nature as well as by our eye. The disconcerting variety of association between the two seems to define the tapestry of Taiwan’s moods, from exuberance to fierce solitude…

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Friday, 30 October 2009 06:37

Red, Red&Green, Green

Red is the color of events and solemn beginnings: red envelopes, theaters and the lanterns that welcome you when you enter temples … Red is the color that greets you as you enter the variegated temple of this pictures’ set.

So many greens in Taiwan… It is not only about palms and bushes… Sky, water or people’s faces can also be bathed in green… Who enters the kingdom of Green enters Taiwan’s endless diversity and sense of nuances.

And then, red and green enter into dialogue when a kite is taken prisoner by a tree at the time of Chinese New Year or when they are letter boxes, standing side by side on the side of the road...

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Friday, 30 October 2009 06:29


Mauve is the hidden color of Taiwan, the ones that flourishes and dies and then surges again when you are not expecting it. Mauve speaks of secret love and joy, and quickly hides behind other colors.

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Monday, 28 September 2009 21:25

As small and immense as a soul: gardens of Suzhou

If gardens are the hidden paradises of China, Suzhou is the paradise of gardens...

Among those she hides within her walls, eight are now included into the world heritage sites. The "Humble Administrator Garden", the "Garden of the Master of Nets", the " Blue Waves Pavilion ’, the “Lingering Garden" are among the most famous of them. Often, they were created by scholar-officials aspiring to escape the worries of their offices Suzhou leads us towards the secret of Chinese gardens: a mystical place, a dream land, a fragile and tenacious Utopia, a garden is also and ultimately a living body, complete with orifices, vessels and limbs.

Orifices, first ... The garden, a small and secluded place, endlessly increases its size through its internal divisions - mounds that break the perspective, walls running along the walkways, partitions all around its pavilions. But these partitions are pierced by openwork windows, round doors and numerous small openings through which the walker can appropriate space and sight, reconstructing the scenes and dividing anew the world ... The space actually occupied by the garden must be kept modest - its bends, its curves, its openings extend it towards infinity, till it spreads over the extent of a soul.

The openings suggest the paths to be followed. Windows and doors gradually reveal the garden to our senses, as the painter’s hand unfolds with pride and caution the scroll on which he made the roaring waterfall, the trail on the side of the mountain, the grove pines and the sea of clouds come to life ... The garden indeed is a scroll, a miniature world opened up and enlarged by our walks and our whims. For whom wanders from one window to another, to the peaceful bamboos, to the banana trees gently whistling in the wind, succeed a rock mimicking the peak of a cliff, a hill of which the summit is hidden, the corner of a roof, or a cut of the sky speaking only of emptiness... Through its countless orifices, the garden multiplies the eyes and the dreams of the one who walks in its midst, till our visions are gathered in an unique glance that plunges into the secret and double soul of the garden and his dweller.

Pierced with orifices, the garden is irrigated by vessels through which circulate life, breath and seasons ... Water animates a garden - water collected in a pond and divided into channels that flow in its interior; water that makes small garden rocks the mimes of the formidable mountains that the sponsor and the creator of the place have marveled at during their travels before suggesting their majesty in their private compound. The passer-by crosses over miniature seas fringed with dwarfed vegetation on tiny suspension bridges... Ethereal scents mixed with the sounds of faint waterfalls whisper around – the garden stammers our dreams between the lines of day and shade. Nearby the water, are scattered small and pensive trees, and pebbles that speak of the shore and are strung like a string of islands. A flute, a bird leaving traces of their absence...

Irrigated by the vessels that make it a living body, the garden can deploy its limbs, taking the form of a lying dragon, a unicorn, or perhaps one of these Taoist immortals of whom we do not know whether they are men or gods. Its limbs are made of its eminences, these modest mountains that transform the pond into a sea, the channels into giant rivers, and the courtyards into continents. They are also its paths lined with plants and flowers that speak of the virtues shared between the garden and who called it to existence: temperance, courage and longevity ...

And yet ... Though it covers the full extent of a soul, the garden can not forget that it is also so tiny – a grain that condenses the world, but all the same a grain, perishable and insignificant ... And Chinese gardens, throughout history, were often destroyed, burned, redesigned and re-emerging ... Ultimately, the garden is perhaps a boat, the boat which leads us gently to the sea of things impermanent, and which, for a moment, makes its bitterness more bearable...

Friday, 17 July 2009 00:00

Treasure and Treachery

Poetic exploration of a treacherous island.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008 00:00

"Half-blind in the forest" - Bendu's exhibition

On the highlands or in a temple, on a peak or in the plain, sometimes far away and sometimes just nearby, but still always at the place where he has presently to be in the course of his pilgrimage, here comes the traveler – the one you meet on the road, Bendu… or yourself…
Since his awakening, he does not know where he is standing; he feels actually like being everywhere. Inside his paintings are the tears, the suffering, the rest that comes after the storm, the confusion, the ray of light within the nightmare. Between the spirit and the flesh, just between the opening and the closing of the door, between harmony and disharmony, Bendu paints the ever-changing appearances of a free heart – with the travail, the wait, the stops and the mere impossibility to stop, all that which goes along with the quest.

Bendu is the painter’s and poet’s pseudonym of Benoit Vermander, chief-editor of “Renlai monthly.” But it is not easy to reconcile Bendu with Benoit. The texts of Benoit Vermander come from his public persona, they are rational and analytical, universal in scope, aiming at providing people with norms and criteria for the decisions that they have to take. Meanwhile, the works of Bendu evoke a cat hidden into a hole; they bring along with them a feeling a mystery, of obscurity, of passion and of solitude. In the depth of our heart, each one of us might have two different voices for speaking to oneself…
Coming from afar, Bendu invites you to laugh, to weep and to whisper with him. At the same time, his paintings explore an itinerary, lead towards a destination that remains undetermined and improbable. The forest is a labyrinth, a feeble light is the only lamp of the half-blind traveler that walks into its depths.

Ink and water illuminate the spiritual labyrinth of Bendu. You have to navigate between natural, spiritual and artistic landscapes. The artist attains spiritual freedom through his creations, and this is why his artworks are the most beautiful gift he can make to us. For he thus leads us towards a road of spiritual freedom, transcending social divisions, gathering into One all the rivers of love, and making us all meet in truth.

The paintings of Bendu return towards the source of life. May they help you to confront your dryness, the torments of others, may they help you to confront the real choices that your life is made of. I am confident that they can also contribute to gather a community of spiritual seekers, a community of people searching for inner knowledge, so they can continue together along the road.

Raising a song to the universe from the depth of his heart, a song neither obscure nor luminous, a song that oscillates between hope and torment, Bendu invites you to narrate the tale of your own beautiful and tortuous pilgrimage.

Opening on Tuesday, October 7, 2008, 7pm

At the Sunbow Art Gallery
3F,0 Bld, 50, Moganshan Road(M50), Shanghai
Tel:86 21 62993931

The exhibit will take place from October 7 till October 22
Download here the pdf invitation

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