Biennale of Sydney 2010 – Jennifer Wen Ma @ Sydney Opera House

Biennale of Sydney 2010 – Jennifer Wen Ma @ Sydney Opera House

New Adventures of Havoc in Heaven III (2010)

Witness the Monkey King ride on a cloud high over the Sydney Opera House.

Jennifer Wen Ma presents a spectacular smoke projection, beaming an animated image of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, a popular and irreverent figure in Chinese mythology, onto a cloud of smoke in the sky. The movement of the smoke is choreographed by the graceful movements of a trained performer, and the Monkey King dances overhead in a playful fusion of tradition and technology.

Sydney Opera House / One Night only Fri 14th May / Performances at 6 pm, 7 pm and 7.45 pm  / ( 5–10 minutes in duration)

video courtesy of COFA sydney


Jennifer Wen Ma was born in 1973 in Beijing, China.

Shortly after receiving her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from New York’s Pratt Institute in 1999, she began to work in the studio of artist Cai Guo-Qiang, and headed numerous projects for the artist worldwide.

In 2004, she coordinated the Bunker Museum of Contemporary Art — 18 Solo Exhibitions, on Kinmen Island in Taiwan, and in 2005 was the Chief Coordinator for the inaugural China Pavilion at the 51st Biennale di Venezia in Venice, Italy.

One of the winners of the 30th Annual Sports Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Live Event Turnaround category — Games of the XXIX Olympiad NBC, — Ms. Ma was a member of the Core Creative Team for the planning of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. She also held the position of Chief Designer of Visual and Special Effects for all four ceremonies.

She has been an active contemporary artist internationally, showing in Europe, Asia and the U.S., including prestigious institutions such as: the Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing, among others.

Jennifer Wen Ma’s New Adventures in Heaven I from Haunch of Venison’s Mythologies show in London

Haunch of Venison on Burlington Gardens was a huge group show. This artist’s piece is a pixilated moving image projected on smoke that issues from the base of the Hindu Buddha’s hand

Old met new at The Phillips Collection earlier this year as they presented  ‘Intersections’, exploring the relationship between traditional and contemporary art practices.

The gallery opened the series in style showing the works of contemporary Chinese artist Jennifer Wen Ma with her two part piece ‘Brain Storm’. Ma builds on the traditional technique of the Chinese ink wash landscape merging it with contemporary video techniques. The mesmeric video shows a stormy journey taken by man and horse across an ephemeral stirring landscape of swirling sand, water and ink

‘Intersections’ exhibition series was held at The Phillips Collection.. October 15, 2009-January 3, 2010

Adapted from her original piece commissioned for the Guggenheim Bilbao in 2009, Ma had to condense her three channel work to work in the intimate space available at The Phillips Collection. Images from the video are captured and transferred onto transparent film and mounted on the windows of the bridge walkway connecting the gallery house to the Goh Annex. These add an extra dimension to the piece, the intersection between the two complimenting medias emphasize the concept behind the series.

Ma also shows a new work at the Art Gallery of NSW. Petrified Garden (2010) is a large bonsai composition made out of Australian native plants, whose foliage has been completely blackened with Chinese ink. The flowers remain in their natural colours, creating a striking contrast, made all the more strange by the colour of new growth that occurs throughout the exhibition.

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