A Metamorphosis: No End to End
Laser-cut flashspun nonwoven HDPE garden, mixed metal armature, iridescent pigment, LED video content, small lighting components
Spectacle at MGM Cotai
June 7 - September 3, 2019
Drawing on artist Jennifer Wen Ma’s all-inclusive worldview, A Metamorphosis: No End to End materializes as a garden landscape uniting sculptural and virtual forms in the Spectacle at MGM Cotai. This space is encompassed by a colossal, seemingly breathing sculptural garden atop custom LED platforms.
Metamorphic creatures take flight from the gardens, constructed from laser-cut paper and composed via the artist’s oft-employed method of combining Rorschach image-making with traditional calligraphic Chinese ink-and-brush forms. These creatures are loosely born from the Chinese characters “nothingness" 無, “exhaustive" 窮, and “limit" 盡 –– words which have myriad meanings, can be interpreted in multiple ways, and are meditations on ancient Eastern philosophies. 無 is not “emptiness." 窮 is not “poor." 盡 also means "to exert." Strung together, these words produce a never-ending source of metaphoric and metamorphic content to be drawn from, both symbolically and formally.
The gardens within the installation employ the artist’s signature honeycomb-construction paper sculpture method, combining state of the art laser cutting technology with the traditional Chinese art of accordion paper lantern-making. Gardens spill forth from the walls and surround existing structures within the Spectacle space. For the first time, color is utilized within the artist’s gardens; jewel tones emerge from the depth of inky black, while an iridescent glow gradually settles in the valleys and hills of snow-white gardens. The use of the LED platform below the gardens breathes fresh color and light into the gardens during the 24 hours of the day that they are accessible to the public; though this effect is made more apparent at night, when the sun no longer pours through the entirely glass roof of the Spectacle space.
A virtual garden periodically appears on the LED screens, using imagery inspired by the gardens and compositions found both in A Metamorphosis: No End to End as well as Paradise Interrupted, an installation opera directed by Ma and presented at MGM Cotai as the official closing event of The Hua Yuan exhibition. The video, surrounding visitors in the Spectacle via a 360 span of mesmerizingly high quality LED video screens, creates a multi-sensory, highly immersive experience within the gardens.
A Metamorphosis: No End to End is presented via MGM Cotai’s Hua Yuan exhibition, curated by Miriam Sun of MoCA Shanghai. Hua Yuan celebrates 5,000 years of ink’s pivotal role in Chinese history and culture, and is offered as a part of the inaugural Art Macao International Art Exhibition. This multi-spatial show at MGM is hosted in tandem with the primary exhibition of Art Macao at the Macau Art Museum, which also features a cut paper installation by the artist.