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MA QIUSHA at Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, UK.



Date & Time: 2013.01.17 - 3.2

Venue:Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester, UK



Born in the ‘80s, Ma Qiusha is an up-and-coming artist living in Beijing, China. For her first UK solo exhibition with Chinese Arts Centre, the artist will showcase her key works to date, using the repeated motif of the blade or razor as a curatorial focal point.

Ma Qiusha’s work reflects a special sensitivity with ordinary everyday objects and materials. She carefully re-stages them in unfamiliar environments to tell a story or express suppressed emotions. Mainly working with video and painting, at first glance her work is calm and expressionless. Only if you spend a certain amount of time to read through the work, will the underlying story and emotion slowly reveal itself.

Ma Qiusha often uses parts of the body or a simple physical action to represent a greater psychological pain. In her most famous work, From No.4 Pingyuanli to No.4 Tianqiaobeili she places a razor in her mouth whilst telling a monologue of her childhood art experiences. At the end of the video, she removes the razor blade from her mouth to reveal to the viewer. This symbolic action reveals her feeling of the unbearable love from her parents. This love, in the artist’s eyes, is often fraught with pain.

Similarly to From No.4 Pingyuanli to No.4 Tianqiaobeili, Ma Qiusha’s video piece All My Sharpness Comes From Your Hardness shows the artist as the subject matter. She wears a pair of ice skate boots which the audience follows on the screen, as they move along a city road scratching their way along the concrete floor. The artist is forcing herself and the viewer into a highly sensory and uncomfortable situation yet the appealingly effortless movement of the ice skates keep the viewer entranced with the moving image put before them.

Windows are another common motif in Ma Qiusha’s work. She sees them symbolically as a barrier, but at the same time a channel to understand the outside world. One particular series of works, Fog is an on-going project for her. Working with the curtain material often found across the windows her home in Beijing, Ma Qiusha transforms the light opaque fabric into something much darker. On first glance the work appears to be a single black painting with a harsh white mark scratched out from it, but on closer inspection the original delicate material and floral patterns of the curtain appear through the black paint. This contrast between the delicate and domesticated with the harsh sharpness of the black and white markings echo the ideas of Ma Qiusha’s work beautifully.

Two years younger than me is a work created using found objects from her grandfather’s household. Ma Qiusha’s grandfather had a particular habit of saving his beard shavings each time he shaved. Bottled like specimens and exhibited in order of their years the work represents a personal memory of her Uncle and physical passing of time.

Ma Qiusha graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts (BA) and the Alfred University (MFA). Her works have been widely exhibited nationally and internationally. In 2009, she had a solo exhibition in Beijing Commune and received widespread attention, important group shows including Soft Machines (2011) at The Pace Gallery, New York, Media Landscape-Zone East (2010) at Contemporary Urban Centre, Liverpool Biennial, Move on Asia 2010 at Loop Gallery, South Korea