Ma Sibo
Stand in Silence
February 28 - June 27, 2020

Press release in French
Press release in English
Installation views

Article: Les silences de la nuit de Ma Sibo, Arteez, by Alexia Green, March 2020

Gowen Contemporary is pleased to present the Swiss premiere of the solo exhibition by Chinese artist Ma Sibo.

Born in Tianjin in 1979, Ma Sibo earned a B.F.A. from the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts in China in 2001. The artist completed his training in France, first at the High School of Art and Design in Toulon, then in Nîmes at the High School of Fine Arts. It is during this stay in Nîmes that he can admire the classic masterpieces of the history of Western art, such as the paintings by Vermeer or Rembrandt, « whose language of light and shadow is rooted in [his] heart» (Ma Sibo, 2020). He also finds himself fascinated by post-war abstract expressionism, by the works of Mark Rothko and James Turrell, two artists who will later become important references in his work.

Ma Sibo’s mysterious paintings, suspended between reality and imagination, composed by skillful color schemes and bright voids, reveal an evanescent and poetic atmosphere that leads the viewer towards a contemplative and spiritual dimension.
Elements from everyday life are theatrically transformed into lyrical visions, both in purity and silence, depicted in a vibrant light that can awaken a feeling of nostalgia. Through the appropriation of form and color, the artist spiritualizes the perceptible reality and creates a strong connection between figuration and abstraction, between visible and invisible.

The paintings selected for the exhibition, all produced in 2019, are from the artist’s recent researches on the artificial night light of urban and industrial landscapes observed in the polluted streets of downtown Beijing or in its suburbs. In an atmosphere of quasi science fiction, isolated figurative subjects appear as symbols of a counterworld, one of daylight, belonging to a distant past. In the silence of the night, humanity is reduced to a shadow. Objects, evoked more by absence than by presence, bear witness to the change of a civilization moving towards an uncertain future.
To use Mark Rothko’s words, one of the most inspiring artists for Ma Sibo : “Painting is a language as natural as singing or speaking. It is a method for forging a visible trace of our experience, visual or imaginary, coloured by our own feelings and reactions, and indicated with the same simplicity and spontaneity as singing and speaking.“ (Mark Rothko, ‘Writings on Art’, 1934-1969).

Ma Sibo was born in 1979 in Tianjin, he lives and works in Beijing, China. He attended the Oil Painting Department in Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts, China (2001), the High School of Art and Design in Toulon, France (2004) and the High School of Fine Arts in Nîmes, France (2006). Selected solo exhibitions: Gowen Contemporary, Geneva, Switzerland (February-May 2020); de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong and Beijing, China (2018 and 2016); Galerie Paris-Beijing, Paris, France (2015); Galerie Loft, Paris, France (2012 and 2010). Selected group exhibitions: Han Feng Art Space, China (2017); de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong and Beijing, China (2016 and 2015); Galerie Paris-Beijing, Paris, France (2014), Galerie Loft, Paris, France (2014); Yan Club Arts Center, Beijing, China (2012 and 2009), Tang Contemporary Art, Bangkok, Thailand (2011); Hélène Bailly, Paris, France (2011), Galerie Dumonteuil, Shanghai, China (2010), Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Nîmes, France (2006); Galerie d’Art-Mur Foster, Nîmes, France (2005); Galerie La Palette, Toulon, France (2004), National Museum of China (NAMOC), Beijing, China (2001).