Feb. 25, 1997 (b) Mar. 25, 1997 (a)

Column Index - Mar. 11, 1997

a)Ma Liuming in Setagaya

Column Back Number Index

<<détruire dit-elle/il De-Genderism>>

Setagaya Art Museum
Feb. 8 - Mar. 23, 1997
Setagaya Art Museum
Ma Liuming in Setagaya (performance document photo)
"Ma Liuming in Setagaya"
Ma Liuming, performance
at Setagaya Art Museum Lecture Hall

Ma Liuming in Setagaya

" Ma Liuming in De-Genderism,
36 self-portraits"

Setagaya Art Museum

The Body That "Phenomenalizes"
- détruire dit-elle/il De-Genderism
Art Watch - Mar. 4, 1997

The Documentary of
Ma Liuming's Performance
- The Filming of the Performance Documentary of the <<De-Genderism>> Exhibition
Art Information - Mar. 18, 1997

Ma Liuming in Setagaya


As a related event to <<De-Genderism: dé truire dit-elle/il>> held from February 8th at the Setagaya Art Museum, a performance by Ma Liuming, an artist living in Peking, was held on the 9th and the 11th. Ma was born in 1969, in Hubei Province, China. He studied in the oil painting department of the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts, and while producing paintings, he started to become involved in performance. In 1993, he participated in East Village started in the suburb of Peking by avant garde artists , joining in performance activities shown to limited audience.

Wearing a woman's makeup on his face and appearing in the nude, Ma chose the simplest "trans-gender" form. Ma's intention was to create the feeling of discrepancy, in the confusion created by the vague existence of a person having the face of a woman and the body of a man, and also to overcome the spell of the "social role" of "man:woman" through a clear practice.

Performance 1 <2/9>
An attempt to rediscover oneself as the "other"

The performance held on the 9th was rather more of a "happening", and the audience were told nothing in advance. The totally nude Ma, wearing makeup, suddenly appeared from the museum shop. With completely economical movements, Ma set a camera and a tripod, showed a subtle movement that hinted of femininity, poising his right hand on his body and facing the camera, and took his self portrait. He had no facial expression at all, but merely walked boldly and quickly to the next point, and took photographs in a similar fashion. (He took photographs) in front of Matthew Barney's work, inside Kusama's "Phally Field", and in front of his own painting... The theme of this exhibition, "De-Genderism", which sounded abstruse at first, was easily confirmed in each scene he created. Because this was done in the morning, the audience were sparse, but one could feel the voiceless reaction of curiosity and amazement towards what was happening on the spot, in a very real way. The audience quietly watched what Ma did, and with his body containing tension, and with the repetition of brief actions similar to formal customs, Ma sustained the situation. Towards the end, near the entrance area, there were more audience than before, and the museum administration voiced a halt to this event. Despite the direction from the interpreter who relayed the order, Ma finished his project until the very last work, completely maintaining his normal expression.
The self portraits of Ma will be exhibited also at the Setagaya Art Museum.

Performance 2 <2/11>
The confirmation of an unknown body through contact with others

On February 11th, from three o'clock in the afternoon, the other performance by Ma Liuming was held at the Setagaya Art Museum lecture hall. Inside the hall, Ma's figure appeared on the screen set in the middle of the stage. He was sitting down, and his face reflected on a mirror was shown in close up, and the process of his face gradually turning into that of a woman's, using makeup, was shown. When the makeup was finished, the hall was in black out, and Ma appeared from the operation room at the back of the hall, finally moving to the edge of the stage. Ma, who was wearing a black leotard covering his whole body, wore a red dress designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. After taking a poise wearing the tight, sexy dress, he wore a chic man's black suit designed by Yoji Yamamoto over the dress, and poised again. Then, suddenly, he started cutting up the clothes with a pair of sharp tailor's scissors placed at the side. At first, he cut slowly, gradually becoming faster and more intense. After his torso became exposed, he moved to the first row of the auditorium, knelt on one of the seats, and started cutting up the bottom half of his clothes near the audience. After becoming naked, he walked around the seats, in the mostly blacked out auditorium, going back to the operation room. When it comes to audience participation, was not his psychological attack (though physically there was only modest contact) a novel and fresh experience for the audience in Japan? Ma's behavior overwhelmed the audience with his serenity containing intensity, and with his quick, strong and decisive behavior towards the situation. Ma stated that he was overwhelmed with the contact with general audience (not those from the art society, but people such as housewives and students) - with the impression from his first, totally open contact with others. The more tension he felt (from the audience's) bodies, he stated that the more he was able to gain concentration for his body. That body of his seemed like a string which became the core of his existence, wavering and continuing to diffuse. The documentary video of this performance will also be shown during the exhibition period at the Setagaya Art Museum.

[Yuko Hasegawa/Art History]

toBottom toTop

Column Back Number Index

Feb. 25, 1997 (b) Mar. 25, 1997 (a)

[home]/[Art information]/[Art Watch]

Copyright (c) Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. 1997
Network Museum & Magazine Project / nmp@nt.cio.dnp.co.jp