Surveying the space, the pristine white walls of the Gallery at The Arts House are interspersed with pockets of blue. As your eyes shift into focus, one notices the iconic horses, or the handmaidens and feminine portraits. Others might even observe the mist on the artworks forming a congruent theme, as they harmoniously characterise many of the artworks on display. The colour blue, with misty elements, are the hallmarks of Ma Dongmin’s inaugural exhibition in Singapore, ‘Philosophy of Blue’.
Ma’s works have been internationally exhibited, commissioned and acquired by private collectors, including esteemed philanthropist Steven Rockefeller. His recent achievements include being highly commended with a Gold award at the Venice Biennale this year for ‘Benedict XVI’ and ‘Blue Horse Portrait’, as well as at the Saudi International Contemporary Art Exhibition. Since 2002, he has been actively exhibiting at invited events, including solo and group shows. His iconic contemporary works are known to be charged with emotions and sentimentality. They are well-acquired by international and local collectors and have been traded at auction for SGD450K. His works mainly focus on the emotive nature of the human spirit, aiming to create a sense of mystery, melancholy and modernism through his unique style of painting.
‘Philosophy of Blue’ looks at the development of Ma Dongmin’s works from his Spiritual Rhyme Series to his present Blue Horse works, and explores the concept of dream-like surreality and the idea of painting as a language. When asked about about the significance of the colour in his works, Ma commented that “blue is an essential colour of the skies, the colour in line with my philosophy. It is challenging to create a sense of mystery, melancholy and modernism. I like that blue is a colour that has the innate qualities of permanence”. Ma also uses misty elements to portray the ephemeral nature of events, existence, and youth that passes with time. His works are a tool to immortalise these qualities and characters.
Known for his love for speed and passion, Ma was invited by Audi to create an artwork, ‘Galloping Horse’ for a commercial campaign launching the new A7. Characterised by confident, distinctive strokes on a contrasting green and blue palette, it is a bold, valiant piece.