Forty-Nine Days in the Bardo is a multimedia body of work by internationally renowned performance artist Laurie Anderson, which makes its debut at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM). Using the structure of a diary and The Tibetan Book of the Dead—also known as The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo—this exhibition explores the themes of love and death, the many levels of dreaming, and illusion. The installations include texts, as well as drawings, sculptures, projections, and sound, and are made from materials including mud, foil, iron, chalk, and ashes.
In The Tibetan Book of the Dead, also known as The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo, the bardo is described as the forty-nine day period between death and rebirth. The book is a detailed description of the way the mind dissolves and what the spirit experiences in this transition. In April 2011, Lolabelle, my small rat terrier died after a long illness. For twelve years she had been my constant and faithful companion. Counting the forty-nine days from Lolabelle’s death, I realized according to The Tibetan Book of the Dead Lolabelle would be reborn on June 5, my birthday.
— Laurie Anderson