24 May-26 August 2022


A Solo Exhibition by Ma Kelu

Hong Kong


Pearl Lam Galleries is delighted to present Wilderness, a solo exhibition by Beijing-based painter Ma Kelu. On view is a rare selection of landscape and abstract paintings spanning from the 1970s to the present. This exhibition conveys the relationships between form, free will, and life existing totally free in an uninhibited environment.

As one of the key members of the avant-garde artist collective No Name Group during the 1970s in China, Ma’s lifelong interest has been to remain faithful to the process of painting. Grappling with different ways of working with a two-dimensional visual field, he demands complete creative freedom for his practice. Ma’s reliance on painting to create meaning has gradually led him to question detachment and even denial from the very object of his own making. The object means nothing without life, nor does the artist set any distinction between the two. In fact, art and life run parallel with one another and converge at some points to guide him. Ma claims, “Painting is almost a madness and impossibility. We tirelessly enjoy it, even though it gives us no path of return; painting is a way of existence, a spiritual drift.”

With respect to Ma’s search for purity in art, the intention behind Wilderness is to simulate a viewing condition of estrangement and to encourage a comparative formal reading of the artworks. On view are eight groups of paintings drawn from different periods and organized in chronological order to shed light on Ma’s disciplinary approaches toward subject matters, surface treatments, and materials. For example, a representational landscape painting will be hung next to a non-figurative abstract painting.

Selected works