(Featured image: Journey to the Dark II, by Yang Yongliang)
Ink flows with the history and art of Chinese culture. MGM presents a modern artistic ink experience–Hua Yuan. This exhibition invites renowned multi-disciplinary contemporary artist Jennifer Wen Ma and international digital visual artist Yang Yongliang. Jennifer Ma uses the intrinsic connectivity and diversity of ink to present a large-scale multimedia and art installation of three gardens. “A Metamorphosis: No End to End” is a garden landscape bringing together natural, sculptural and virtual textures and an installation opera in one act “Paradise Interrupted” which was praised globally as the opening event of the 2016 Lincoln Center Festival in New York.
“Journey to the Dark II”, by Yang Yongliang, combines slow movement, profound sound and darkness in a video installation that unfolds a side of Macau we’ve never seen: although it doesn’t exist, it’s made of several portions of the city’s landscape. When looking carefully, one can spot Grand Lisboa, MGM Macau and so many other iconic structures that make Macau the city it is. This is a simple, but intense experience to have, especially in a place when horizons are rare and buildings are set side by side with some more.
The work presents a surrealistic urban nightscape merged with a boundless night sky; here the artificial world and the natural world coexist, interwoven, in a motley harmony. Through cutting edge digital imaging technologies, this work is rendered at near-8K resolution. Incorporating a large amount of footage purposely shot in Macau and photographs of the signature architecture of the city, the video has the distinct flavor of Macanese culture and topography, raising provocative questions about the issue of regionality in the exhibition. Journey to the Dark II is a digital video that uses urban architecture as a brush and the layered mountains of Song-dynasty landscape painting as a compositional blueprint. It can thus be considered a contemporary extension of traditional Chinese painting.
From afar, the work appears tranquil and quiet, with only a vague suggestion of movement. As the viewer approaches, everything in the video reveals itself to be moving, growing, and transforming. Urban development not only nourishes a city but also raises some objective questions. Whereas the ancients expressed their appreciation for nature in landscape painting, Yang Yongliang’s contemporary landscape provokes reflection on the state of contemporary society. The monumental high-
resolution panoramic screen in the MGM Theater perfectly renders the near-infinite details in Journey to the Dark II, enveloping the viewer like a dome and engendering an unprecedented immersive visual experience.
The darkness of MGM Theatre allows for an introspective moment in this exhibition lasting a few minutes: just the perfect amount of time for the audience to create their own stories in and about the city: one with no boundaries in this showcase. It harnesses technology and videography to showcase the transformation of Chinese ink via a digital landscape painting. Through Hua Yuan, the essence of Chinese culture and art is preserved and progressed, allowing the public to experience the beauty of ink and wonder at its possibilities. Born in 1980, Shanghai (China), Yang graduated from the China Academy of Art in Shanghai in 2003, and his works have been exhibited at museums and biennials all over the world. His is renowned for exploiting connections between traditional art and the contemporary, implementing ancient oriental aesthetics and literati beliefs with modern language and digital techniques.
Internationally renowned, cross-disciplinary artist Jennifer Wen Ma employs an all-encompassing worldview to conceptualize a multimedia installation taking over MGM COTAI’s Spectacle. Springing forth from Ma’s mind and hands, this garden landscape brings together natural, sculptural, and virtual textures, synchronizing the entire Spectacle in one visionary stroke.
The artist’s signature honeycomb-construction paper-sculpture garden will be the physical artwork in the Spectacle. This stunning series of paper gardens combines state-of-the-art laser cutting technology with traditional Chinese art of accordion paper folding technique. Gardens spill down to the floor and occupy a pop-up exhibition space in the Spectacle. The installation is designed as a three-dimensional landscape painting. Viewers looking down from the first level will discover a world activated by visitors exploring the gardenscape on the ground floor, and vice versa. The multiplicity of perspectives allow each visitor to have a unique, immersive experience with the work.
An internationally renowned, cross-disciplinary artist, Ma bridges varied media such as installation, drawing, video, public art, design, performance, and theater; often bringing together unlikely elements in a single piece in order to create sensitive, poetic and poignant works.
From the same artist, Paradise Interrupted: An Installation Opera in One Act, tells the story of a woman searching for an unattainable ideal in a world that comes to life through her singing, as she attempts to return to the Garden. Co-produced by Spoleto Festival USA, Lincoln Center Festival, Singapore International Festival of Arts and National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, it weaves the myths of the Garden of Eden and Peony Pavilion, with a mesmerizing composition that merges a 600-year-old Kun opera with contemporary Western opera. The creative use of interactive technology enables a host of digital characters to interact with the heroine within a magical garden to create an enchanting story.
The director and designer of this exquisite opera is visual artist, Jennifer Wen Ma. The composition, which is both a celebration of tradition and an entirely new masterpiece, is by Huang Ruo. The quest-seeking heroine is Qian Yi, who has been lauded by The New York Times as “China’s reigning opera princess.”
When: “Journey to the Dark II” – June 7–August 3, 2019 (Closed every Tuesday and from June 12 to 14)
“A Metamorphosis: No End to End” – June 7–October 20, 2019
“Paradise Interrupted: An Installation Opera in One Act” – 7:00pm, August 29 and 8:00pm, August 31, 2019
Where: MGM Cotai, Avenida da Nave Desportiva, Cotai
How much: Free admission
For more information, check the event’s website
“Hua Yuan” at MGM is part of the mega international art and cultural event Art Macao.
Happening from May to October this year, Art Macao brings together cultural institutions, hotel and resort operators, consular missions in Hong Kong and Macau to create an unforgettable atmosphere and cultural vitality to thrill residents and tourists alike.