Installation for INK studio
ART021 art fair
November 10-13, 2016
This exhibition for INK studio, a Beijing-based gallery, featured a limited-edition series of photographic prints of Ma's inked-plant works, as well as a new floor installation entitled Exhaustive. The work consisted of a flat tray of soil painted black with Chinese ink, and sprouted grass seeds planted in the soil. As the grass grew, the Chinese word "qiong" appeared, rendered as a Rorschach blot formed by the green of the grass against the black of the soil.
Stemmed from the artist's practice of applying Chinese ink to live plants and landscape, this indoor installation is a new experimentation that expands on this theme. Here, in the form of a floor piece, it evokes minimalist tiled floor works, drawing on a different artistic lineage and time period. The word "qiong" can be interpreted to mean "poor and destitute" or "extreme and exhaustive" depending on context, and is here playfully presented as a Rorschach blot against the backdrop of the art fair.
Chinese ink has been the primary medium of expression and communication for centuries in East Asia. It embodies all colors, emulates all forms, and gives meaning to brushstrokes and aesthetic achievements. Concurrently, black is both the absence of light and an exhaustive combination of all colors of pigment. This duality of inclusiveness and expulsion gives great opportunity for artistic exploration.