Poster of Tenth of a Second
Tenth of a second: Fen-Ma Liuming After Twenty Years

By Duan Jun

Tenths of a second, is the self-timer shutter speed with telecontrol, while Ma Liuming creates the behavior of a group photo with the audience. Undoubtedly, tenths of a second is a temporal concept, and is an extremely short moment. If we see a person’s life in the length of the universe, then life is just tenth of a second.

However, it is precisely in the tenths of a second, people never know what will happen. Tenths of a second contains infinite incidentals, which are more and more apperceived that would have a decisive role in today’s life. In 20th century, our understanding towards the world and life has from the necessity to incidental. Incidental perhaps are more complex and profound than inevitably, especially for the life of the individual. If a person advances in accordance with the set trajectory, how dull it would be.

Now modern Art has improved the incidental to an unprecedented position. Deleuze says: “Modern painting began while people no longer see themselves as a kind of essence, but a contingency. There is always falling and the following dangerous. The form begins to show incidental, rather than the nature. “Necessity has been working to ensure that there is no falling, because the falling is an accident, an accidental and harm. But doesn’t the falling has the lyrical possible? Maybe this is a dangerous conclusion, but the presence of the people is a coincidence. The incidental in performance art is always Ma Liuming’s focuses, because he wishes to gain something unexpected in the creation. The incidental is a kind of creation, it may be the part in the failed or ill-considered performance art, but Ma Liuming takes a delight in this. Incidental expands the space of the behavior, and makes the behavior into an area even the artist himself cannot imagine.

Ma Liuming, Untitled No.10, 2012-2013; oil on canvas, 80x60cm

Ma Liuming, Untitled No.10, 2012-2013; oil on canvas, 80x60cm

Strictly speaking, Fen-Ma Liuming is not Ma Looming, but the image that Ma Liuming created 20 years ago – 1993. She separated from his body and mind, is Ma Liuming’s work and life lover. He keep neither friendly nor aloof relationship with her. As he no longer do the performance art after 2004, just because he can’t bear to see the lover’s senility, then his lover forever fixed in that moment.

Fen-Ma Liuming in painting, also is not Fen-Ma Liuming in performance art, we can say that she re-separated from the performance art. If Fen-Ma Liuming in performance art has more materialized feeling in light and on the stage, then Fen-Ma Liuming in painting has much more visional property.

Fen-Ma Liu Ming in performance art is absolutely the main part and attention of the audience, while Fen-Ma Liu Ming in painting begins the maximum reclusion. Even sometimes we can only see the audience in the screen of Ma Liuming. Now the image of Fen-Ma Liuming is always looming, while the audience who participate in Ma Liuming’s performance art creation in the way of group photo has became the main part of his painting. Ma Liuming choices some meaningful, unusual acts and scenes in a huge number of viewers photos; he showed the audiences’ behaviors under a variety of ideologies. The behaviors of the audiences or Fen-Ma Liuming constitutes a wonderful relationship, or developed its own system, as if the audiences exist completely because of Fen-Ma Liuming, but Fen-Ma Liuming will not be able to realize itself from the audiences, so that Fen-Ma Liuming cannot exist in the real existence.

Actions and emotions of the viewers can detect their reaction when facing abnormal scenes, they are uneasy, or bright, or quiet, or sorrowful. It is unnecessary to divide their forms and expressions into natural and unnatural types; more worthy of appreciating is various temporary powers the audiences face when they participate in the creative. In other words, it is futile to try to see the audiences’ situations from the screen participating in the behavior, because Ma Liuming’s painting convert behavior, the audiences’ participation behavior has been defamilirized in the painting. if you had not seen the performances scene from the video, it is may not be easy to know Ma Liuming’s painting are showing the behavior at that time, for his paintings have the awareness of getting rid of behaviors or video vision.

Ma Liuming regards the audiences as the main body, virtualizes Fen-Ma Liuming, and gets rid of the trap of symbolic Fen-Ma Liuming’s. If Fen-Ma Liuming becomes a symbol in the painting, then Fen-Ma Liuming as the image will be excluded from the thinking, and only to be seen as external, material supporter, while in fact, the performance of Ma Liuming is an image after thinking recognition, judgment and reconstruction.

The key of Ma Liuming’s painting is the relationship between Fen-Ma Liuming and audiences, the audiences participating in the behavior take Fen -Ma Liuming as the object to show themselves, and Fen-Ma Liuming gets the recognition of their own existence from the audiences as others. There is not only dependence, but also the properties of confrontation between them, Fen-Ma Liuming doesn’t try to please the audiences, and namely, she just shows to others how her own existence is.

Ma Liuming, Untitled No. 13, 2012; oil on canvas, 200x150cm

Ma Liuming, Untitled No. 13, 2012; oil on canvas, 200x150cm

In the late 1990s, Ma Liu Ming began to create the behavior of taking group photos with the audiences all over the world, and since 2000, he took sleeping pills in performance to make him in a shallow sleep and maintain his dazed state of unconsciousness. Taking sleeping pills in performance art and virtualizing Fen-Ma Liuming in paintings both are to get rid of the artist’s spirituality. It’s a method of artists’ creation – he tried to forget his own consciousness, and make himself has the possible of “Nothing”, then he could get more others’ consciousness.

In painting, he also developed his own method–Leaking painting, namely the pigment from the big mesh of canvas to the front of the canvas by extruding the pigment from the back of the canvas, and use the generated texture to shape the body, Therefore the body has a sense of touch. Although it is a tactile vision, but the “look” still has absolute priority in observing Ma Liuming’s painting, just the vision occasionally would bring an attempt to touch.

In the studio, the painting is not finished, because his paintings need to be appeared in the light. The light could combine with canvas mesh and the volume of pigment to produce a vivid rhythm, or the volume of light irregularly entering into the pigment participates in the shaping of the body. Even we can understand that the light enters into the body from the inside, so the works show the richness what can’t be shown under the dark condition.

For Ma Liuming, his paintings may be the memories of Fen-Ma Liuming in performance art, also be his miss to audiences involved in his performance art for they together created memorable works. Since 1993 Fen-Ma Liuming being created in 1993, quickly, it has been twenty years till 2013. She is not only the results OF Ma Liuming individual artistic creation evolution, but also reflects Chinese contemporary art development and reformation since the 1990s.

About the exhibition

Curator: Duan Jun

Duration: Jun 22 – Aug 6, 2013

Venue: White Box Museum Of Art

Openging: Jun 22, 2013 Sat 16:00

Tel: 010-59784800

Add: 798 Art District, NO.2 Jiu Xianqiao Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing

Courtesy of the artist, Duan Jun and White Box Museum of Art, for further information please visit

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