Recognizing a hole's place in artistic masterpieces

Song Xinyi
The exhibition "Hole: Ma Ke's Paintings" is on at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum until June 27, featuring 90 of his masterpieces.
Song Xinyi
Recognizing a holes place in artistic masterpieces
Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum / Ti Gong

A series of Ma Ke paintings at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum.

The exhibition “Hole: Ma Ke’s Paintings” is on at Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum until June 27.

Curated by Carol Yinghua Lu, the exhibition features 90 Ma masterpieces, reflecting his thoughts and introspections about abstract art and storytelling.

Born in 1970, the Chinese artist mastered realistic-painting techniques during his undergraduate studies at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts and postgraduate work at the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

The exhibition title “Hole” is derived from the artist’s childhood, when he referred to any word he did not recognize as “hole.” The word played a vital role in his literature-reading experiences to formulate meaning. Through those “holes,” Ma developed his understanding of foreign subjects.

Recognizing a holes place in artistic masterpieces
Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum / Ti Gong

Visitors take in Ma Ke's “The Rider Who Roams The Sky.”

The exhibition is divided into eight sections that demonstrate a series of works from different stages of Ma's career. In each section viewers can take in a certain element and its derivation created by the artist, including fruits he has been constantly sketching, a horse he saw in a picture-story book during his childhood and fragmented parts of a human body.

Ma has been a part of exhibitions in museums, galleries and private spaces all over the world, including “Ma Ke” at N3 Contemporary Art in Beijing (2020), “Idioms — Ma Ke” at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle in Munich (2018) and Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles (2014), as well as “Evidence” at Platform China Contemporary Art Institute in Hong Kong (2013).

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