As Time Folds

Ivy Ma

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The latest exhibition of Ivy Ma, an artist, is titled As Time Folds, featuring exhibits differing from her previous creations, which had close associations with written work and content. For this exhibition, it looked as if she had hollowed out all her thoughts and skills, and opted for a pure and extremely simplistic form and structure to inspire viewers’ elaboration and imagination.

I always thought  that everything began with “time”, so I asked Ivy Ma, “What is time to you?” She did not give a direct answer, but talked about two images hidden in her memory.

[1] Black

In Murakami Haruki’s Dance Dance Dance, the Sheep Man walks on an endless corridor of darkness. The darkness is both static and fluid. If one can reach the very end, a face-off with one own self will await. On entering the exhibition venue, one will be attracted by a creation containing seven pieces titled Mian. Black carbon powder and acrylic paint appear identical on seven pieces of wooden board of similar size. However, inside the exhibition space, light from outside the windows adds different layers to the black color, and among them, they look similar yet different at the same time. What will black become at its extreme? Will, the Sheep Man, for instance, be able to find what he wants at the very end of darkness? Or he will end up in the same place as he was at the beginning?

[2] Long-haul flight

One time, aboard a long-haul flight to USA, Ivy Ma was having a long conversation with her friend and companion, and after some hours, her friend suddenly said: “The horizontal ray of light outside the window has not changed at all all this while.” It would seem time was flowing but was at the same time frozen at a point. I always think that long-haul flights resemble time machines, which travel from one time zone to another, and the time will return to eight or twelve hours before, or travel six or three hours ahead. The 19th Flying features 19 plane windows that look the same but are actually different. When time travels to the end, what will it be like? Will everything open up and be free, wIthout the distinction between past and future?

Both time and space have structure. When one after another layer of structure is removed, what will remain? Using extremely simplistic form and materials, Ivy Ma has depicted a state of sudden enlightenment following a period of tension. After reaching the end and the extreme, time, and even other things will return to their original state. Curator Evelyn Char wrote in the exhibition booklet: “Assuming all the time that has passed and will come is a piece of paper. Each day creates a fold as it goes by. Everything that ever happened, every bit of ourselves that ever was, are folded into the shadows. To unfold the folds is to be overwhelmed by torrents of memories, nightmares, and echoes of history…”

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