A Landscape of Metamorphosis: No End to End
Laser-cut flashspun nonwoven HDPE, mixed metal armature, pigments, LED video content, LED platforms
Spectacle at MGM Cotai, Macau
May 20, 2022 – Permanent Installation
The installation unfolds like an expansive landscape painting rendered in three dimensional form. Beneath the luminous atrium in the Spectacle, three white platforms on the ground represent islands covered by sculptural foliage made from cut paper. Each garden exhibits intricate shapes and patterns of varied vegetations. The surface of the platforms’ floor is embedded with LED panels, and accompanied by smaller digital ponds, displaying undulating colors and forms inspired by rhythm of ocean currents.
A Landscape of Metamorphosis: No End to End is deeply influenced by Chinese literati landscape painting and classical garden design. The honeycomb-constructed paper sculptures alternate twice a year, one for spring and summer, and another for autumn and winter, with color schemes inspired by texts from the Book of Rites on the change of the seasons.
This first iteration is comprised of white paper covered by faint coats of iridescent highlights of yellow, pink, green, and orange. The expressive color palette evokes the vibrant character of the land reviving in spring with an abundance of flowers nestled in the verdant landscape that thrive through the summer. The autumn/winter iteration exhibits a metallic landscape in pearlescent pigments, that are cooler and deeper in hue and showing the steely characters of the seasons.
In addition to the floor installation, three metamorphic butterfly-shaped creatures taking flight from the landscape. Composed through Rorschach image-making of Chinese characters “nothingness” 無, “exhaustive” 窮, and “limit” 盡; yet strung together, the phrase 無窮盡 means “no ends nor limits,” which becomes a mantra for the creative innovation that could be derived from history, nature and our own inner worlds.
In this immersive work, Ma addresses the prevalence of the landscape motif in traditional Chinese culture as a device to understand human relationships to their environment. The installation invites the viewer to navigate the fabricated environment to meditate on the shifting role of natural ecosystems within contemporary society and the increasing implementation of technology blurring the boundary between the organic and artificial.