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Mr Monkey sees Ma Qiusha at the CAC

Venue : Chinese Arts Centre
Start date: 18th January 2013
End date : 2nd March 2013
Visit date : 14th February 2013
Mr Monkey looking at Two Years Younger Than Me and No. 43 Pingshandao by Ma Qiusha
Mr Monkey watching From No.4 Pingyuanli to No.4 Tianqiaobeili by Ma Qiusha
Mr Monkey scampered along to the Chinese Arts Centre to see their latest exhibition, a solo exhibition by Ma Qiusha.

Mr Monkey at the entrance to the Ma Qiusha exhibition
Ma Qiusha is a Beijing-based artist working mostly with video and painting, creating works which require close study to reveal the underlying emotion.

There are five works in the exhibition, all referencing a razor or a blade in some way. There's also a door which isn't listed as a work but is clearly part of the exhibition.

Two Years Younger Than Me is a shelf holding a row of pill containers full of human hair. Beside it, No. 43 Pingshandao is an explanation of the containers and Ma Qiusha's relationship with her grandfather (whose beard hair is in the containers).

Mr Monkey isn't convinced that these two pieces would work on their own, but together they act as a quirky introduction to Ma Qiusha.

The 25½ minute long video, All My Sharpness Comes From Your Hardness, shows the artist apparently being dragged through a small town on the back of a truck with her ice skates scraping and striking sparks from the road. Mr Monkey found this strangely hypnotic to watch, with lots of incidental things happening in the space around the main subject.

In From No.4 Pingyuanli to No.4 Tianqiaobeili Ma Qiusha faces the viewer and tells the story of how she became an artist and the somewhat ambivalent nature of her parents encouragement. At the end she reveals the razor blade that she's had in her mouth for the previous 8 minutes, adding a strange twist to the tale. The comfy sofa provided for the viewer makes the experience even stranger.

The final piece, Fog no. 6, is one of a series of paintings which are plain black from a distance, but reveal delicate patterns (based on curtain material) when inspected closely.

Mr Monkey enjoyed this exhibition, especially the videos. On leaving, he realised the significance of the temporary door; it's No. 43, same as Ma Qiusha's grandfather's house. Mr Monkey did wonder why there was a number on both sides of the door.

Before he left the Centre, Mr Monkey went to the staircase to see the latest First Step Showcase, an installation by Meiling Tse.

Ma Qiusha's solo exhibition runs until March 2nd 2013.

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