Ma Wei Solo Exhibition
Tales of the Spirit World
12 – 28 November, 2015
ZZHK Gallery is pleased to present 'Tales of the Spirit World', the first solo exhibition in Hong Kong of Beijing artist Ma Wei, presenting a selection of her new works. The exhibition will be on view at the gallery from November 12 through 28.
Ma Wei's paintings are about imaginary creatures. She calls them 'spirits'. They are metamorphoses from plants and animals, they are beyond your imagination, some are arrogant, some are gentle, some are disturbing, some are amusing. They create a path between the viewer and that of the artist, as well as the mystical world of the imagined spirits. These living creatures in Ma Wei's paintings have their own characters and peculiarities, engaging us, and reminding us the vague memories of the long ago, from time immemorial, and the tales of the spirit world.
In the manner of Chinese traditional painting, Ma Wei embodies the artistic conception of traditional Chinese aesthetics. The flowing line, the graceful gesture, the emptiness of the painting represent a typical Chinese perception of beauty: the rhythm of stillness and movement. The paintings on display include 'Summer' and 'Winter' which depicts its primeval chaotic state of the spirit world, where the creatures are restlessly chasing around and ruthlessly being chased, yet the whole scene appears to be dominated in an atmosphere of balance and harmony. The silk used in Ma Wei's work, as a unique medium in Chinese painting, delivers a mellow brown tone of age. It simply draws the viewer back, through time and space, to a sense of eternal harmony, a rhythmic dance-like movement of the spirit.
Conversation with the Artist
Q: Your paintings are of different kinds of grotesque animals. Can you say a little about how you developed this theme, and how you relate to those 'spirits” you are painting? For you, What or who are they?
A: The idea was originally from 'animism' which was commonly found in Asian cultures. It was believed that all things have an inner life and characteristic. All things have a spirit. This series of paintings portrays the mysterious spirits living in my world. They unbound in time and space. Despite of the attention or being forgotten by modern society, they won't disappear and are always present.
Q: This exhibition is titled “Tales of the Spirit World”. What can you tell us about this spirit world that you create, and the real world at this point in time?
A: The spirit world was based on my view of the world. As a post-80's generation growing up in a global environment, I intermingled the ancient Chinese mythology with Japanese and European cultures, and wanted to present it in a light-hearted and optimistic way. I hope through my paintings, the memories of a far more primitive world lurked deep within our blood, can be reawakened and carried on from now onward. For me, the world at this point in time is just one stage of my worldview process. There is coincidence between my world and the world, yet they are different. The world in my paintings is more of the origin of the world.
Q: You chose the very traditional manner of Chinese painting, like the medium of color and silk, preserving blank space, even the mocking inscription and seals. Why did you use these elements? How did Chinese traditional painting influence you?
A: Chinese culture is rich, extensive and profound. I venerate the traditional Chinese painting, meanwhile, it is a bit too cautious and heavy to me. I want it to be more light and fun and serious at the same time. I want to bring up new ideas into our culture and art. My paintings seem traditional but they are contemporary.
Q: What do you want the viewer to get out from seeing this exhibition?
A: The essence of my creation is my imagination. I want to create a unique world that the viewer can glimpse at through my paintings. They can interpret as they wish, there is no right or wrong answer to my work.