Seeing the things you cannot see: (Dis)-solving the sublime in interreligious aesthetics through the paintings of Hiroshi Senju, by Peter L. Doebler

This paper examines the artwork of the contemporary Japanese painter Hiroshi Senju as a vehicle to explore how fissures within a religio-aesthetic concept like the sublime can provide productive openings for interreligious engagement. A focused study of Senju’s installation at the Shofuso Japanese House outside Philadelphia serves as a lens to view two different responses to the antagonistic excesses of the Western sublime, one from Japanese and Buddhist aesthetics and the other from Christian aesthetics. Considering further how Senju’s art mediates these two different perspectives, the paper claims that it provides a unique response to the problematics of the sublime, a response that envisions a peaceful sublime that sustains a participative relationship.

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