Jennifer Wen Ma (b1973, Beijing) works across a variety of media, including installation, video, drawing, performance, public art and fashion design. Chosen from more than 500 applicants, she was one of the seven members of the core creative team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, as well as the chief designer for visual and special effects. Last year, her opera Paradise Interrupted,with composer Huang Ruo, premiered at the Spoleto Festival USA following a special preview at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Many of her works take landscape or nature as their subject matter and her new site-specific commission, Molar, for the group exhibition of 16 Chinese sculptors, A Beautiful Disorder, at the Cass Sculpture Foundation, offers a place of reflection in a disintegrating utopia, where beauty and destruction cohabit, and inspiration can be drawn from the diseased as well as the prosperous.
Wen Ma talks to Studio International about her new work and her wider practice, now split between Beijing and New York.
Studio International also spoke to the Cass Sculpture Foundation’s curatorial director, Claire Shea, about the concepts behind this first international group exhibition and the global success of this young generation of Chinese artists.
A Beautiful Disorder
Cass Sculpture Foundation, West Sussex
3 July – 6 November 2016
Interview by ANNA McNAY
Filmed by MARTIN KENNEDY
Papunya painting: out of the desert
Art is a central force in Aboriginal culture and a critical political tool. Through an understanding of the art it has been possible to make a case for Aboriginal rights. The Sydney Olympics in 2000 were used both to expose the dreadfully inhuman conditions under which many Australian Aborigines still lived, and also to incorporate Aboriginal art and ritual into contemporary culture. Thousands of Aborigines took part in the superb theatrical ceremony; a great part of which was inspired and dedicated to the history of Australia before the arrival of white European settlers.
Xiangshan Campus, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China
Established in 1928, the China Academy of Art is the first comprehensive art academy in China committed to integrating eastern and western art in its curriculum, while creating contemporary art according to the principles of Chinese culture. The new Xiangshan campus, located in the outskirts of Hangzhou, marks another chapter in the development of the school towards a 21st-century educational model.
LAVA: Home of the Future
Home of the Future, one of the prominent and current projects by Laboratory for Visionary Architecture (LAVA) Asia Pacific, was exhibited at the University of Technology Sydney Architecture Warehouse in Chippendale, Sydney, 16 March
The John Bellany Odyssey - paintings from Italy, China and the Tsunami
John Bellany's paintings are among the most confrontational, humanistic paintings produced in Britain in recent history. Layered with references to the expressionist tradition in art, and to his own dramatic life, recent death and incredible survival, they are allegories of mortality that have no rival today.
Sculptural Architecture in Austria
This masterly exhibition has been organised with the support of, and in co-operation with, the Federal Chancellery of Austria and the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China. It is the brainchild of the architect, Professor Hans Hollein, who curated it from Vienna in liaison with the Director of the National Art Museum of China, Beijing. It represents a long affair between Austria and China on cultural matters, and the Chinese authorities are to be complimented on their perspicacity and understanding for seeing it through. It follows an initial exhibition in Shanghai in 2001, covered by Studio International.