|Ma Yongfeng was born in Shanxi, China in 1976 and is a new media artist currently based in Beijing. He has exhibited widely across Europe, the United States and China.
Ma came to international attention in 2002 with The Swirl, a video depicting six Koi carp being subjected to a 15 minutes wash cycle in an upright washing machine. The piece was exhibited at MOCA at Los Angeles and PS1 in New York. Ma has continued to explore additional alternative realities between order and disorder in his video, animation, photography and installations.”In his series of photographs The Origin of the Species, Ma shows images of the animal enclosures without the animals in them. The absence of the animals intensifies the viewers’ sense of animal presence but also creates a highly theatrical tableaux. These animal areas are based on the imaginary environment of the creature’s habitat and like a stage set have a painted back drop that is intended to depict the natural environment of the animal as well as referring to traditional Chinese bird-and-flower scroll paintings. Ecologists argue that China’s development into an intensely urban orientated society is wreaking destruction upon the country’s fauna,
Ma Yongfeng’s empty tableaux suggest that even the animals in the zoo have disappeared. What is left behind is man made, it relates to nature but it is stripped of natural growth and has become a pastiche of the natural environment. In Ma Yongfeng’s hands the emptiness of the animal pen and the absence of the animal itself evokes a sense of loss for the spectator. Not in a sentimental way in which a child might miss a small furry creature that has run away but in the manner in which modern drama is able to induce a feeling of emptiness that accompanies an awareness of self…”
“In his last series Suspending, Ma Yongfeng uses the photographic medium and the symbolic elements of traditional culture, (the stone, the water, the bamboo, the trees) and the apparently random elements to dig inside the collective unconscious and make us lose our grip at the same time as he lets go of his own. On this fragile and subtle level of perception, the safety of expertise is abandoned for risk and potentiality.
With Suspending Ma Yongfeng suggests to us we should slow down and step aside from the speed and brutality of the outside world and stand still and listen carefully. He invites us to re-invent our inner landscapes and cultivate the potential for change until the right occasion, like the half-head of the Buddha, will emerge from the border…”