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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist.

  • Literature

    A. Albertini and P. Marella, eds., Out of the Red: The New Emerging Generation of Chinese Photographers, Milan, 2004, p. 126 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot is an unusually poetic, almost surreal work from Ma's Beijing East Village days. Ma has received international critical acclaim for his performances as the gracefully androgynous Fen-Ma Liuming. While much of the work that emerged from the East Village community explicitly reflects the artists' political and social oppression, Ma's self-portraits examine the ambiguous, potentially holistic nature of sexual identity. In "Fish Child," which was taken during Ma's performance by the same name, the artist takes a bath amid a live school of lustrous fish strung up on cords. "The image of fish is highly related to the issue of sex in Chinese culture... Although it can be explained as a social or political metaphor, it is nevertheless related to sex. To me, the issue of sex is related to the maternal body because the sex of man in the maternal body is in the status of complete innocence. This is the main idea of my "Fish Child" of 1996... Bathing here is a ritual ceremony that expresses the desire to return to the maternal body. The maternal body for me is heaven." (Ma Liuming, interview with Z. Qian, "Art Journal," Summer 1999)

302

Fish Child

1996
Gelatin silver print.
31 1/2 x 47 1/4 in. (80 x 120 cm).
Signed in Chinese characters and numbered of six and dated "1996" lower right. This work is from an edition of six.

Estimate
$20,000 - 25,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

17 Nov 2006, 10am & 2pm
New York