Art021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair 2016: Jennifer Wen Ma

11 - 13 November 2016 

Booth: P-07, APPROACH section

November 11 - 13, 2016

Shanghai Exhibition Center, 1000 Yan'an Middle Road


At this year’s Art021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair, INK studio is excited to present an installation and limited-edition photographs by Jennifer Wen Ma, the internationally acclaimed interdisciplinary artist and one of the chief creators of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening and closing ceremonies. On view from November 11 to 13, INK studio’s presentation is part of the APPROACH section and located at Booth P-07, Shanghai Exhibition Center No. 1000, Yan’an Middle Road, Shanghai, China.


Born in Beijing in 1973, Jennifer Wen Ma moved to the United States in 1986 and graduated with an MFA in 1999 from the Pratt Institute. Her practice draws together elements and cultural references in sensitive and unexpected ways, bridging such diverse media as installation, drawing, video, public art, design, performance, and theater. Ma was one of seven members of the core creative team for the Beijing Olympics and received an Emmy Award for their work. Since then, she has increasingly delved into the material and philosophical qualities of the Chinese ink tradition.


Jennifer Wen Ma created and directs Paradise Interrupted, which the Wall Street Journal has described in a review as “a mesmerizing new work that is part opera, part dynamic art installation.” Inspired by the Ming-dynasty kunqu opera Peony Pavilion, Paradise Interrupted was previewed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2015 and has since been performed at the Spoleto USA Festival, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Asia Society, and Lincoln Center Festival. Ma reconfigured her production design for Paradise Interrupted into a multimedia installation in the landmark 2016 exhibition “What About the Art?” curated by Cao Guo-qiang at the Qatar Museums Gallery Al Riwaq in Doha, Qatar. Another notable recent work is the installation Molar (2016), commissioned by Cass Sculpture Foundation, Chichester, United Kingdom.


A significant part of Jennifer Wen Ma’s practice involves the application of ink on live plants. An organic material itself derived from plants, ink stunts photosynthesis without killing them, and in fact encourages spurts of growth that are made visible by the contrast between the inked and green new portions of the leaves and stems. Evoking traditional Chinese ink paintings of floral and vegetal subjects, Ma’s inked plants have developed into a distinctive and increasingly rich artistic language in a series of installations and participatory public projects in Australia, Brazil, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan. These acclaimed works have rarely been documented and published. At Art 021, INK studio will debut a series limited-edition photographs of the inked plants that capture their poignant interplay between ephemerality and timelessness, fragility and vitality.


Also part of INK studio’s presentation at Art021 is Exhaustive, a 3-by-2 meter living installation of grass and black soil conceived specifically for the occasion. Changing subtly over the duration of the fair, the installation will introduce moisture, smell, color, and other sensorial elements that complement the static and near-monochromatic photographs. Together they will create an immersive experience and reflect on nature, time, and the place of classical culture in the contemporary globalized economy.


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