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Free Admission

Ma Qiusha

17 February 2018 - 3 June 2018

Image credit: All My Sharpness Comes from Your Hardness 2011. Single-channel video, colour, sound, 25 min 29 sec.  Courtesy of the artist and Beijing Commune, Beijing


Chinese artist Ma Qiusha (b. 1982) is concerned with the cultural gap that evolved between her own and preceding generations in China as a consequence of political transformations, sparked by the introduction of liberal economic policies in the 1980s.  Ma examines the emotional condition of those caught between familial expectations – shaped by Chinese tradition and the country’s more recent communist history – and personal freedoms associated with capitalism.

A series of videos explore themes related to the formation of personal identity, particularly around questions of gender, or the disruption and reparation of social relationships.  They feature Ma and other young women and men performing actions in which their bodies are subjected to physical stress or enact ritualistic gestures to convey psychological states.

One photograph depicts numerous automobiles, a symbol of China’s emergence as a player in the capitalist global economy, in allusion to the resulting hyperproduction and consumerism that began to play a formative role in Chinese social life.  One installation features popular representations of people and objects that refer to China during the 1990s, when the influence of Mao Zedong, who ruled the country between 1949 and 1976 according to orthodox communist ideology, declined under the leadership of his successors, who were. more receptive to Western cultural influences.

This exhibition is part of NOW, a programme co-organised by Plus Tate, the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester, in collaboration with HOME, Manchester; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art; Nottingham Contemporary; and Turner Contemporary, Margate.  NOW is sponsored by the China National Arts Fund and supported by the British Council, China.

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