Ma Qiusha: Wonderland

2016. 06. 15-08. 06

Beijing Commune is pleased to announce the opening of Ma Qiusha’s fifth solo exhibition “Wonderland” at the gallery on June 15th, 2016. The exhibition will continue until Auguest 6th, 2016. The exhibition title “Wonderland” derives from a mega-scale amusement park extravagantly built in the 1990s in ChangpingDistrict, the fringe of Beijing city. Like the Chinese exhibtion title “沃德兰”, the park’s Chinese name wasa phoneic transliterationfrom the English word. Eagerly anticipated at the time, this giant town of spectacles and ambition claimed to be the “world’s largest amusement park”, only to find itself delayed for complex reasons and was eventually quietly demolished after decades of abandonment.

Exhibited in the main hall, the eponymous work Wonderland is a new installation that Ma began working on since last year. Smashed cement slabs of the same model are wrapped in nylon stockings in different shades of nude, then reattached into new blocks. Nude nylon stockings have certainly gone out of fashion today for their poor elasticity and artificial colors, but were once trendy items among Chinese women in 80s and 90s. In the artist’s retrospection of her childhood, nude nylon stockings do not signify idiosyncrasies, but the masking of bodies and their inherent differences. While preparing and producing the work, Ma used clear nail polish to patch the snags and tears on the stockings - the precise way in which Ma’s mother used to fix her stockings in a time far before the ubiquity of overproduction. The body as a both private and collective entity, the memory and texture of an intimate object worn next to the skin, and the aesthetics of a bygone era interweave and meet in this Wonderland that enclothes a large proportion of the exhibition floor.

In the same exhibition hall, the three-channel video Avatar seems to resemble an exquisitely crafted TV commercial: young girls, extricated from old-style nylon stockings, bathe their bikini bodies shimmering with gold powderunder the lens. With the Bible, the prayer beads, and sunglasses within reach, everything in this perfect sunny dayappears resplendent, lethargic, carefree. As the three synchronized screens come to an end, images on the screen at center continue to play: the lens rotating at high speedpresents a scene which brings the audience from a meticulously wrought illusion back to reality.

In the dark space next to the main hall, a video is projected onto an entire wall. Mars presents the audience with an expanse of fine red sand. A macro lens shows the astonishing texture of red sand particles while aerial shots display sand dunes that show no trace of human activity. This perspective transcends individual experience by depicting the mysterious surface of a celestial body.The huge waves of red sand rolls endlessly like the infinite expanding of the universe. While the exhibition’s Chinese title - a transliteration of the english word “Wonderland” - seems devoid of meaning, it provides a fertile ground for the imagination to roam free.It takes the body’s corporeal existence as the starting point and casts the audience into the midst of a desert which echoes the sound of the universe.

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