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"Curated by Song Dong: Ma Qiusha: Address" at UCCA. I 2011-7-16

Date: July 16, 2011 – September 8, 2011
Venue: UCCA White Cube & Black Box
Curator: Song Dong


Half a Generation Away

In 1980, China's one-child policy went into effect. In 1982, Ma Qiusha was born. In 1984, Wang Shang was born. In 1989, the year I turned 23, I began teaching art to Ma Qiusha, age 7, and Wang Shang, age 5. In the 22 years since, our relationship has progressed through three stages: teacher/pupil, friends and colleagues/fellow artists. The teacher/pupil relationship was mutual: right from the start, we studied together and learned from each other. Our relationship as friends was wide-ranging: I formed a deep bond with both the kids and their families. Our relationship as colleagues was more individualistic: we followed our own artistic paths, yet kept up a meaningful mmunication.

During their university years, I had hoped to curate an exhibition for them, and in 2011 we finally got the chance. Ma Qiusha is 29 this year, Wang Shang is 27, and I am 45. We are holding three solo exhibitions at UCCA. Three separate solo exhibitions, or 1 collaborative exhibition. We all grew up in a similar environment, Beijing's hutongs . But an era of great changes has led us to very different lives. Different family environments made us different people, and gave us different futures. We share a special bond, and our lives will always be linked. In this exhibition, I have created a backdrop for their work. In real life, I was part of the backdrop of their lives. This is a very special moment in my artistic career, a moment I will never forget. Ma Qiusha and Wang Shang are still several years younger than China's "reform and opening."
- Song Dong


From No. 7 Nanlishilu Santiao to No. 1 Shouchangjie, then to No. 24A Meishuguan Dongjie
My collected self-portraits span the years from childhood drawing classes to the Central Academy of Fine Arts High School. After entering university, I never did another self-portrait again.

No. 4 Tianqiaobeili A razor-in-the-mouth monologue about my childhood art experiences. At the end of the video, I remove the razor blade from my mouth. Though I love my mother deeply, that love is often fraught with pain.

No. 43 Pingshandao I remember my maternal grandfather as the only relative who didn't spoil me, an old man I sometimes quarreled with. Later, my grandma told me that he, like me, had been an only child. Grandpa was a strange bird. I remember his odd habit (a habit he took very seriously) of saving the stubble from his beard every time he shaved. He would save the stubble in little glass bottles, each carefully labeled with the year and kept under lock and key. This went on day after day, year after year, from 1984 to 2010. After he passed away last year, I rescued the 27 bottles, one for each year, from a pile of his things someone had thrown away. My grandpa's stubble collection is 27 years old, just two years younger than me.

No. 2 Hepingmenwai Xili Home has three windows, each facing a different direction. They are like three big LCD TVs, playing different programs every day. Through this window, I saw real tanks and troops. Through this window, I saw an exhibitionist loitering in a blind alley. Through this window, I saw a neighbor standing on his balcony, peeping down at me in the toilet. Through this window, I saw a mirror in the darkness.

Less than 50 cm above ground From time to time, the tail of a cat peeks out from a hole in a girl's skirt. The girl raises her skirt, teasing the invisible pet.

Tuofangying Nanlu The residue can never be eradicated. It is but a tiny drop, suspended in various liquids: soft, vital, sexual.

Liulichang West A pair of legs being dragged behind a moving vehicle. The feet are wearing ice skates. The pavement races underfoot, grinding against the blades of the skates. The blades grow shaper and sharper, until finally, they become knives. Real knives.
- Ma Qiusha