Ivy MA: Someone
29 August – 18 September 2014
Goethe-Gallery and Black Box Studio
14/F Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai
Ivy Ma’s work has always been concerned with memory and specifically with the exploring of the blurred border between what we may consider ‘personal’ memories and ‘cultural’ memories. In 2010, Ivy began her series of “still lifes” in which she focused on objects and fragments of the mise-en-scene from specific, often classic, films. The ‘minor’ narrative that underlies the often tragic drama of human desire and ambition; the poignant, often melancholy, un-drama of an everyday life marked by transience and loss.
Working directly on these single frames lifted from films, Ivy then physically engages the image, erasing large swaths of visual information, overlaying hand-drawn patterns or embellishing existing elements. Ivy insists on this haptic imperative, quietly upending the Cartesian dialectic. In her work the hand supplants the eye as the dominant site of perception and the body becomes seat of knowledge.
Looking at her new works featured in this exhibition, Ivy has shifted her attention from objects and spaces to people. She has gathered together a collective body of blurred faces and shadowy forms from the edges of our cultural memory. The images that form the source material for these works range from the most familiar (though unknown to her audience) people in the artist’s life (family photos), to pictures of strangers (found photos, antique photos bought from stores while travelling), to the puzzled faces and discombobulated bodies of people caught in streets in times of war and disaster (historical photographs). These anonymous, silent people and their unknown, unhistoricised lives are the citizens of Ivy’s “Someone.”
The title Someone is taken directly from a poem by the Danish poet, Inger Christensen. In her book ‘IT’ there is a section of a poem with 66 lines, each starting with the word ‘Someone’. The text itself is like a series of multiple camera angles that depict many different ‘someone(s)’ (or perhaps the same person) as they act / think / be within life’s framework.