Ultimate fight. Asian martial arts
Exhibition from September 28, 2021 to January 16, 2022 at the Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac museum.
What are the origins and peculiarities of Asian martial arts? With more than 300 ancient and contemporary works, and through a gallery of historical figures or fictional heroes, the exhibition Ultimate fight. Asian martial arts intends to retrace the history of martial techniques. A route punctuated by references to popular arts and cultures, in particular to cinema, with the emblematic figure of Bruce Lee.
The exhibition begins with the representation of combat in the Hindu and Buddhist arts, both as an image of power for the military elites who sponsored them but, above all, as a metaphor for liberation and knowledge. The fight is internal. The exploration continues at the heart of the martial schools of Asia: if they draw on military knowledge, they are also part of very old systems of representations of the body, nature and the world. In China, Shaolin monks thus use the breath of Buddhist meditation to develop their physical and mental strength; Japanese martial arts come from ancient samurai warfare techniques imbued with Zen Buddhism.
By gradually breaking away from their warlike function, martial techniques become more theoretical and reinforce their discourse, becoming what we could call today methods of physical and spiritual development of the person.