What we see is a projected image in the confines of a work of art. This personal projection invites outsiders unashamedly into a very private world, the realm of a professional, who is unavoidably bound by restrictions of space and time. How deeply impressive can this image on a flat surface be? In the hands of an artist the possibilities seem endless, yet there is always this cadre, this framework. Ma Hui is trying to break through the borders of this limitation by introducing an extra element in her latest graphic art: Dancing in 3D.
To her, graphics represent a familiar technique, close to home, close to her heart. In the past two decades she has learned to patiently toil with etching press and paper, while perfecting her technique. Through the years she has achieved her own mark of excellence. Ma Hui particularly likes the physical side of working with fluids on paper and the way they change form, shape and texture. She also enjoys the manual side of creating art. By applying force to turn the wheel, a working day long, Ma Hui also pushes personal limits of pain. Her class room size etching press, the biggest one she could find in the low countries, often resembles a monster ready to conquer. The machine provides the means to a splendid goal. What counts is the final reward.
Working with dry needle, with acid on zinc plates, it is one of her favourite ways. Because it enables her to create slowly in stages to an extent that it allows nature to go her own way while never knowing exactly what will be the end result. The artist is never fully in control, this technique leaves room for the unexpected. It expands the creative process, assists the artist to indulge in fantasy and imagination on the road to a private dream world.
For Ma Hui nature is the source of vital energy, nature inspires her experiments in art. It is not simply an external manifestation, it is equally an inner experience, an inner adventure.
The French critic François Gonse wrote in Le Petit Journal about Ma Huiís graphic works in lyrical prose: ëOne senses how sadness and pain have found a gentle exit. Lines connect, with the use of the colour red, bringing rice paper to life. Life is a circle, she says, you go back to were you came from. To commence and never end – it is this perfect state of mind aspired by Zen Buddhists that Ma Hui loves about the creative process (Ö) Ma Hui, an adult but blessed with a young childís vision, often adds keys to her graphics. It is poetry sealed on paper. She provides a direction, a lead to follow. She expresses herself in the typical vocabulary of childhood memories: ‘The wind battles with trees, grey grazing grounds on the banks of the Yellow River, the yellow earth, a single red dot in the sky, I see lines to the horizon that do not move, broken memories, rapids in the stream, this never ending road’
Ma Hui explains: ‘To me drawing a line in space creates an illusion, it creates tension on a flat piece of paper. The dialogue between form and texture is important to me. A line may change the value of things, or at least bring an illusion of change. A line may break or bind the energy of the paper it is drawn on. A line represents gender and change of identity. A line is real or imaginary. A line is sensitive and sharp. A line will guide the way through a process’
‘Why it is important to add an extra element in 3D to this magnificent adventure? To create a concrete situation that will ultimately further develop. This is the main reason for applying mixed media. Adding a red woolen threat, a wire or a piece of string, not only brings a new dimension. It changes the identity of the creation as well. Three dimensions instead of two add structure and contrast. It makes the image tangible, it makes it possible to touch, to feel the difference in material. It is the character and texture of conflicting matter, interacting in an elegant dance. Using mixed media resembles a cross-over in art between two different cultures, West and East. Bringing them together results in development of a whole new situation. This is a source of sheer excitement to me. I enable forms to coexist, creating a dialogue between different dimensions and different structures in silent movement’