Galerie Paris-Beijing is pleased to present the latest works of the famous Chinese artist Maleonn. This new exhibition in Paris invites visitors to immerse themselves into Maleonn’s dream world through a large selection of photographs and installations that he has realized since 2010: Big dream, Flowers in the mirror and the Moon in the water, 1000 Chinese strangers, My photo studio, Where have all the flowers gone and The specimen of my time.
All the typical codes of the artist’s fantastic universe are present: his theatrical sceneries, his extravagant decors, his off-the-wall “antiheros” and the narrative dimension of his metaphoric and ironical images
Maleonn, whose real name is Ma Liang – a young fairytale character (The Magic Brush Ma Liang) who has the power to transform reality at the will of his fantasies – uses photography and digital resources as his “magic brush”. Some of his photographs series are manually re-coloured in post-production, others immortalize installations and performances whose costumes and scenographies he conceived of and designed himself. As a collector of diverse objects, Maleonn puts forward a real cabinet of curiosities filled with antiques, stuffed animals, skeletons, masks, colourful marbles and other toys, old posters and anonymous photographs.
Maleonn’s aesthetically loaded photographs captivate and document the dichotomous nature of the Chinese identity that is at once invested in its ancestral history, and at the same time determined to forge into the future. The mirror effects of the black and white series Flowers in the mirror and the Moon in the water, the installation 1000 Chinese strangers – which consists of nearly one thousand photo booth portraits of Chinese workers at the time of Mao (1949-70) – and the series of old image montages Where have all the flowers gone testify to the artist’s reflections on history and tradition. The saturated colours of the series Big dream and My photo studio dramatize the idealistic attitude of the characters who are staged in grotesque situations or desolate scenery. These symbol-laden photographs, faded to yellow like old postcards, evoke a sentimental tension between contemporary and traditional China.
Born in Shanghai in 1972, Maleonn is a theatre director, a visual poet, a sculptor of senses and a painter of emotions. Coming from a family of artists, he has from a young age received an artistic education. In 1995 he graduated from the most prestigious University of Arts in Shanghai with a major in graphic design and began to work as an advertising and movie director. This allowed him to develop his technical skills in photography and fuelled his desire to create freely. Since the beginning of his artist career, Maleonn has won numerous awards such as the 2009 Excellent Photographer Award of the Pingyao International Photo Festival. Several solo exhibitions have been dedicated to Maleonn, notably the “Garden of Mirrors” at the Shanghai Museum or “Fantastic” at the MAG Museum in Hong Kong. Maleonn has been exhibited internationally – from Beijing to Toronto, Singapore to San Francisco and from Paris to Rome. His works are in both private and public collections or foundations such as the Chinese Ailing Foundation.