To Dream, to Collect


Ma Desheng

1952 China

1 Works exhibited

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  • About the Artist
Born in 1952 in Beijing, China, Ma Desheng accomplishes his art by self-study. In 1979, Ma Desheng, then aged twenty-six, linked up with twenty odd young artists, including Huang Rui, Ai Wei Wei, Li Shuang, Wang Keping, to form the “Xingxing (Star) Group”, to advocate free thinking and free art creation. They staged street demonstrations in Beijing to pronounce their belief. Mr. Jean-Paul Desroches, Curator of Guimet Musee National Des Art Asiatiques Paris, described the scene, “At the end of 1978, the magazine “Today – Jintin” was founded, and would become a veritable manifesto. The first issue was published on December 23rd, with the participation of Ma Desheng and Huang Rui. For sale in Beijing in the Xidan quarter in front of the “Wall of Democracy”, it was sold out in one day. … in 1979, Ma Desheng and Huang Rui, with the help of Wang Keping, Qu Leilei and some other friends, were preparing the “Xingxing – Stars” exhibition, which they hung on the railings of the “Meishuguan”, the National Art Museum of China, on the morning of September 27th. Two days later, the exhibition was forbidden by the Beijing Office of Public Safety. The works would not be exhibited again until August 20, 1980, this time inside the museum. After this event, Ma Desheng and Huang Rui, at the invitation of artists from different provinces, would visit more than 20 major cities, organizing conference / debates throughout the country. From that day, it can be said that a new kind of artistic expression was unavoidably on the rise. Ma Desheng and Huang Rui would be the main characters in this revolution.” This avant-garde movement has a unique status in the development of contemporary Chinese art, it opened a new era and inspired the changes that followed in the next thirty years. The wood prints created by Ma Desheng from 1979 to early 1980s is a statement of the core spirit of this movement: art has its own self-contained world, it is not a tool for political propaganda or anything else. However, under various kinds of pressure, members of the “Star Group” migrated overseas soon after. Ma Desheng arrived at Switzerland in 1985 and then settled down in Paris ever since. Ma Desheng shouldered an important turning point in history that is not proportionate to his handicapped body. He was crippled as a child, and furthermore a car accident in early 1990s locked him up on a wheelchair forever and disabled him from applying ink again. But he is always so indefatigable. After a long healing process, he started to paint again by acrylic on canvas. Revisiting his skills in abstraction, he unveiled his work in which he fabricates various metaphorical forms from stone-like parts. His works are held in public and private collections around the world, including The British Museum, London, Museum Cernuschi, Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, l’Association du Museum d’Art Contemporaine de Chamalières, France, Museum of Oxford, London, Museum de Melun, France, Asian Art Museum, Nice, Museum and Art Gallery, the University of Hong Kong.

Works by Ma Desheng

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100 x 180 x 35 cm


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