4 Questions for Ma Hui
We talked to Chinese born Amsterdam artist Ma Hui about her work on view at SinArts Gallery in The Hague, and in particular her newest installation Endless Lines
Ma Hui, Endless lines, 2019. SinArts Gallery
1. Tell us about the title of the works and materials in your current exhibition?
MH: The title of the exibition, Challenging Limits stands for pushing borders in my art work, almost as a way of life. It is nearly impossible to print dry needle etchings on Chinese rice paper. It is so thin it may break while handling it. Equally, it is near impossible to guide water and ink the way I want to. For one painting I might have to try dozens of times to get close to what I want.
2. What do these "endless lines" signify to you?
MH: ‘The tree wants to rest. But the wind never stops’. This theme reflects my feelings about life as an unstoppable movement of time. Endless Lines is my personal celebration of time and motion. It tries to convey emotions that are finding their way on this long winding road, feelings of loneliness, of sadness but also of joy. We must continue, with little to protect ourselves in a constant battle to deliver us from evil winds.
3.How about the process of making these works? And the Pu'er tea in particular.
MH:For years I was looking for a proper dark brown colour to match the blackness of ink on rice paper. Because tea is a natural product, especially pu'er, a red tea very popular in China. It can stay as dark as it is for ever. Thus it combines perfectly with rice paper.
4. You made socially engaged work in the past. Are these Shuimo works more personal?
MH: All my work is, in one way or another, proof of social commitment. In 2012 my installation '1500 Mouth Masks' was removed from the gates of the MOCA-museum in Beijing. It was considered a protest against polluting the environment, but interpreted by local authorities as muzzling free speech. Shuimo, China's traditional technique of ink, water and rice paper, all three derived from nature, are natural tools to express my most inner feelings,