Exhibition “Red on Black: Between Two Worlds”


9 Jan 2016, ‘Red on Black – Between two worlds’, Ma Hui’s solo exhibition in Beijing Times Art Museum. Supported by Dutch Culture, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Amstelveen Municipality. Sponsored by Robot 4u Tech.

About Ma Hui’s  Solo Exhibition

Master of suprematism Kasimir Malevich (Russia,1878-1935) introduced a new attitude in art, purely spiritual and reflecting an inner experience. From his perspective, portraying the objective world is completely meaningless, only the inner sensibility of artists counts. This appropriately characterizes also Chinese-Dutch artist Ma Hui’s creative concept. The black and red color in her work may remind people of how Malevich discovered black and red. Although they share a similarity of abstraction and they are both expressing inner feelings, supremacists tend to emphasize the external rational manifestation of inner feelings while Ma Hui uses the symbol of typical Chinese culture, ink, to express her spiritual world.

Slowly dispersing in water ink shows a variety of visual images in Ma Hui’s work, while repeating the same constructs and themes . Day in, day out these images record her inner world. Due to early experience with graphic art, etching mainly, Ma Hui became very sensitive to printing material. She started by selecting paper and making pigments, then added toner with ink powder and made cinnabar herself using a collection of fallen petals from her garden. Besides Chinese art paper, she also likes to draw on coated paper. Because ink does not merge with the texture of coated paper immediately it produces a saturated and shiny effect. In the artists’own words, coated paper highlights the feature of ink.

During her thirty years of living in the Netherlands Ma Hui was inspired by realism in western countries, nevertheless she constantly pursued a unique Chinese ink painting style. She kept a distance from ‘Experimental Ink Painting’ and ‘Now Ink’ trends that were prevailing across China. While there are five different colors in traditional Chinese ink painting, Ma Hui has her mind set on using only deep black. Some artists in China already tried deep black ink painting before. She realizes that she is not a pioneer in this field, therefore she kept innovating the art of shuimo and slowly developed a very personal and unique way of expressing herself with ink. As a Chinese artist living in a western country Ma Hui practices ink painting skills from day to day. Solemn and with a serenity that can seldom be found in ‘Now Ink’ her shuimo finally went full circle.