Latest: Ma Hui at KunstRai 4-8 April 2018 Canvas International, stand 77

Shuimo (Chinese ink on race paper)

Expo Ma Hui at Asian Library, Leiden University, 17 April 2018

Invitation 邀请函

Water Dreaming 梦 幻 中 的 水 墨

By Ma Hui 马 蕙

Shuimo (Chinese Ink on Ricepaper) 水 墨

Kurt De Belder, Librarian of Leiden University, warmly welcomes you to the opening of an exhibition of shuimo by Chinese/Dutch artist Ma Hui, on the occasion of the donation of one of her paintings, titled ‘Water Dreaming’, to the recently renovated and extended Asian Library.

‘Water Dreaming’ 200 x 100 cm shuimo

Reception: Tuesday 17 April 4-6 am

With a brief introduction of shuimo by Willem Offenberg (art-mediaconsult)

Musical performance: Lin Su (on pipa)

Please register by sending an email to

Leiden University Libraries (Vossius Conference Room)

Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden

Tel. 071-5272800

‘Ma Hui is an adult blessed with a young child’s vision. It is poetry sealed on paper’

French critic François Gonse in Le Petit Journal

Chinese/Dutch artist Ma Hui was born in Chengde, Hebei Province in 1958, to the family of a high-ranking party official. Her extensive range of artworks embodies her two very different cultural identities in a number of ways. Her feelings about shuimo, Chinese ink and water on paper, stem from her days of early childhood on the banks of the Yellow River in Ningxia.

Ma Hui studied at the Art College of the University of Xi’an, after which she spent time in Tibet to paint the cultural life of ethnic minorities. In 1987, she moved to Europe to further her art studies in Switzerland and Holland.

While in Ningxia, the symbiosis of yellow earth and streaming water evoked lasting emotions, literally colouring her artistic career that spans four decades on two continents. Both cultures resonate in her shuimo, an ancient Chinese configurative art form that Ma Hui has masterfully transformed into immense abstract eruptions of ink and water on paper.
In 2006, she was awarded the prestigious Aemstelle Prize by the Cobra Museum in The Netherlands, for an installation of ink on canvas, entitled ‘Yellow River’.





Latest: Amsterdam Design-issue May 2017

 Artmediaconsult is presently cooperating with the American TV-Channel CBS News for a special Amsterdam Design-issue of the CBS Sunday Morning-show, air time May 21st 2017. In this show of one and a half hour the city of Amsterdam will be pitched, celebrating 100 years De Stijl, a revolutionary design movement created  in 1917 by Dutch artists Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburgh.

Stedelijk Museum, Museum Het Schip (Amsterdam School) and EYE Filmmuseum are among several locations from which anchor Jane Pauley will present the show. OMA’s Rem Koolhaas, Studio Daan Roosegaarde, ‘book maker’ Irma Boom, Marcel Wanders and many others have been approached to feature in this special program.

Artmediaconsult’s Willem Offenberg will serve as facilitator and local producer


In previous

‘writer’s blogs’:

Ma Hui soloshow Cospace Gallery, Shanghai

27 August to 25 September 2016

Black River Flow’

Chinese Dutch artist Ma Hui once said, “I already knew how to work with ink, water and paper before I was born…”, and in her case, it is no exaggeration. Born in 1958 to a family of a high-ranking Party official, her father a renowned calligrapher, the practice of shuimo was, as she says, like ink flowing through her veins and in her heart.


If her love of shuimo was inherited from her father, then it was invigorated by her experiences in a re-education village in the countryside of the Ningxia province: the yellow clay of the riverbanks, the dark swirling waters, the songs of the fishermen as they tended their boats, and the long ropes floating aimlessly on the currents and eddies.


The memories, undiminished by her 28 years living in Europe, continue to inspire her practice, perhaps more strongly because of those intervening years, as if often the case with first generation émigrés, who feel the love of their home soil most deeply for its absence. Shuimo has become the private language of her soul, the bridge that connects her to home.


Nevertheless, her time in Europe has not been without its influence, reducing her colour palette to the simplicity of red and black, and introducing elements of collage, as well as her use of contemporary coated papers, for their saturation and shine, their highlighting of the nature of ink.


While life in Europe has allowed her the distance to develop her shuimo in isolation from the trends in experimental ink practice in China, it nonetheless is her daily practice that connects her forever to the river of her childhood.


Curator: Hutch Wilco, Gao Yi




荷兰华裔艺术家马蕙曾说过:“出生之际,我就知道该如何运用墨,水和宣纸…”。 了解她的人都知道,这个说法并未夸大其辞。 出生于1958年的她,来自一个条件优越的家庭,她的父亲是一位著名书法家。所以,对于水墨的研习,正如她自己所说,就像是流淌在血液里一般的自然。





策展人 魏皓啟,高毅



Chinese/Dutch artist Ma Hui has been selected by Michael Goedhuis, British/Dutch art gallery dealer in London and New York and renowned shuimo-expert, to represent her ink-and-wash creations (shuimo).


CinemAsia Film Festival,

Amsterdam 1-6 March 2016


Sylvia Chang (left) in Amsterdam during CinemAsia Film Festival 2016, next to Festival-director Lorna Tee in front of an enthusiastic audience in EYE-cinema.         Photos: Almicheal Fraay

Sylvia Chang on her latest film, Murmur of the Hearts, and trying to shed her movie star image

For four decades, Sylvia Chang has built an illustrious career as an actress and filmmaker 

At the age of 61, Sylvia Chang Ai-chia is still regarded first and foremost as a movie star, even though she has been a director for decades. Murmur of the Hearts – her first feature as a director since 2008’s Run Papa Run – opened this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival, which dedicated a 14-film retrospective programme to her as its “Filmmaker in Focus”. It’s easy to understand why Chang might see her public persona as somewhat limiting.

“I’m the only film director [I know of] who still has to do her make-up and hair at every promotional event,” she says with a sigh. “It’s very troublesome – and my team always makes fun of me about it – but what can I do? It’s because when other people look at me, they still think of me as a movie actress who happens to be doing a director’s job.”

But the Taiwanese-born Chang, who has been living in Hong Kong for almost 30 years, is renowned for her professionalism. So during an onstage Q&A with playwright Edward Lam Yik-wah as part of the HKIFF in April, Chang politely, albeit awkwardly, fielded the host’s probing questions about her love life. She also obliged the giddy and very long queue that formed outside the theatre for her autograph.

She appreciates the affection, but as one of the most feted actor-filmmakers in the histories of both the Hong Kong Film Awards and Taipei’s Golden Horse Awards, Chang wants to be remembered for her decades-long and successful transition from a beloved face onscreen to an established writer-director behind many a sensitive contemporary drama.

Granted, Chang did enjoy a hugely prolific movie-star phrase early in her career – she appeared in 57 films between 1976 and 1986, many of those are some of the most revered blockbusters of Hong Kong cinema, such as the 1980s’ Aces Go Places series and Tsui Hark’s screwball comedy Shanghai Blues (1984).

“I really enjoyed the period working with Cinema City,” she recalls. “The only aspect I didn’t like was that they did too many sequels and the later films eventually lost the charm. But when I rewatch Aces Go Places, it still shows me how good commercial movies can be.”

When she takes the director’s seat, however, Chang is not afraid to reveal an art-house sensibility that may have its roots in her early collaborations with Ann Hui On-wah (1979’s The Secret) and Edward Yang De-chang (1983’s That Day, on the Beach), both new directors at the time who went on to become leading figures in Chinese-speaking cinema.

“I think it’s important to continue the tradition,” Chang says of her affiliation to the less commercial side of filmmaking. “If we don’t make those films, who else would make them now? It’s important to care for humanity – even when you’re telling sci-fi or more light-hearted stories, like I did with [the 2004 film] 20 30 40.”

Murmur of the Hearts is an artfully narrated drama about the search for emotional closure of three Taiwanese young adults (played by Isabella Leong Lok-sze, Joseph Chang Hsiao-chuan and Lawrence Ko Yu-luen) with long-lost parents, including a mother played by Lee Sin-je in flashbacks.

Chang does a double take when I ask if she considers her new film to be entertaining. “Yeah,” she nods animatedly. “The film is entertaining in the sense that I speak to people through it. I entertain them, but I also hope that I’m speaking to them.”

The project began in 2013 when Chang came across a short story that flooded her mind with images. After a month of preproduction and a relatively smooth filming period in the second half of 2013, she found herself in a prolonged battle in the editing room due to the poetic nature of the film she had in mind.

Chang says she was influenced by her viewing of The Inspired Island: A Series of Eminent Writers from Taiwan, a documentary series that chronicles some of the best known poets in the region. “It made me see how the poets use few words, in a very direct and precise way, to build up emotions,” she says.

” Murmur of the Hearts is not just about its story; the emotional expression in the film has to be very clear. I wrote a lot of dialogues and monologues but ended up ditching most of them. What constitutes emotions? I need a lot of visual details. It’s the first time I did additional shoots after finishing my first cut.” What did she add? “The shot of a hand, a painting on the wall, a mood – things like that.”

Apart from a leading role in Office – Johnnie To Kei-fung’s upcoming movie musical adaptation of Design for Living, the theatre play she scripted and starred in – Chang has kept herself busy with at least five directorial projects in various stages of development. However, the scarcity of her onscreen appearances is unlikely to change.

“I am picky because I know exactly the parts that I’d be interested in,” she says. “I have no interest to repeat myself, and I really don’t like it when people offer me a small or cameo role. It’s pointless, because my name is going to get you zero push at the box office. And if people offer me a part that can be done by anyone, I would see it as an insult.”

Chang’s last appearance as an actress was in Chinese director Li Yu’s 2010 featureBuddha Mountain – and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. “When they first approached me, the script was excellent. But eventually, they cut out too many scenes and made me feel that I was disrespected.”

Her advancing years are, of course, another factor in Chang’s gradual transition behind the camera. She offers: “Increasingly at my age, I’m realising that no one cares about an actor’s ability once he reaches a mature phase. We’re in the best position to offer our positive qualities, but who cares?”

It looks like at least one person does. “I’m the one who cares the most, which is why I will keep on writing good characters for other actors and for myself,” Chang declares – in a way that would make her legions of supporters proud.

Sylvia Chang Ai-chia has a genius for staging sentimental urban romances with a distinct feminine sensitivity.

Having taken a change of pace with the father-daughter dramedy Run Papa Run(2008), her last feature as a director, it comes as less of a surprise that the Taiwan-born, Hong Kong-based actress-turned-filmmaker would return with a most poignant film about family roots and lost dreams.

Murmur of the Hearts opens to actress Isabella Leong Lok-sze, her hands adorned with red paint and with scars on her wrists, looking dreamily at the sky from a rooftop.

The film, which is co-scripted by Chang and Taiwan-based Japanese actor Yukihiko Kageyama, then reveals its emotional core when a mother (Lee Sin-je) tells her two children a bedtime story about a mermaid breaking free to see the world.

The trio of damaged souls at the centre of Chang’s film are the artist Yu-mei (Leong), her insensible boxer boyfriend Hsiang (Joseph Chang Hsiao-chuan) and her tour-guide brother Yu-nan (Lawrence Ko Yu-luen), whom Yu-mei hasn’t met since her mother (Lee) took her to Taipei, leaving her father and brother behind in their hometown of Lyudao, an island off the eastern coast of Taiwan.

There are pressing concerns: Yu-mei finds out that she’s pregnant, while Hsiang is diagnosed with a detached retina, which threatens to end his boxing career.

But if these broken human beings struggle to connect with one another now, the film suggests it’s more a result of their long-term failure to let go of their remorse and resentment at being abandoned as children.

While Yu-mei channels her neurotic energy into abstract paintings that look like the result of an art therapy session, Yu-nan dreams — in a hypnotically presented drunken reverie — about meeting his mother again and going over her expectations of him. It is with the same craving for approval that Hsiang, an average boxer, fights on in the hope of impressing his long-departed sailor father.

The yearning for parental validation is key to this lyrical film, which dwells on its thirty-something protagonists as they shift between their mundane lives and their imagined reunions with long-lost family members. Leisurely paced and tightly woven in the fabric of memories and fantasies, the film is light on plot but steeped in pain.

There is scant pleasure to be drawn outside of its unusually positive ending — and that’s the least these characters deserve.

Murmur of the Hearts is a quiet and sometimes strangely moving story about the search for closure; it is also one of Chang’s best directorial efforts to date.








Blog Jan 2016


Ma Hui: Red on Black – Between two worlds

Shuimo, inkt op rijstpapier / ink on rice paper

Vernissage on Saturday, 9 January 2016, 4 pm

Opening op zaterdag 9 januari 2016, 16.00 uur

Times Art Museum, Beijing


  Ma Hui

马 蕙

‘De Chinese/Nederlandse kunstenares Ma Hui combineert een rijke traditie van jezelf uitdrukken door middel van inkt op papier, essentieel onderdeel van China’s idioom, met grondige kennis van de Europese cultuur. Ze verenigt beide culturen in één persoon.’ Dit schrijft Fred Gordon, Amerikaans kenner van shuimo, de Chinese kunst van werken met inkt, water en rijstpapier, als voorwoord in Ma Hui’s meest recente catalogus, getiteld Water Dreaming.

Zelf beseft ze al te goed hoe diep kunstzinnige wortels reiken. Haar vader, een volleerd kalligraaf, bracht haar de kunst bij van het met natuurlijke gratie laten dansen van inkt op papier. Maar de echte affectie met shuimo stamt uit de tijd dat ze in de Culturele Revolutie als kind dwangarbeid moest verrichten aan de oevers van de Gele Rivier. De symbiose van gele aarde met stromend water riep heftige emotie bij Ma Hui op: ‘Vanaf een heuvel trof me de uitgestrektheid van de watervlakte. Ik zag vissers houten boten op het droge trekken. Ze zongen er eeuwenoude liederen bij. Ik herinner me tot in detail hoe een stuk touw uit een van de boten door het wilde water werd meegevoerd, even doelloos als elegant bewegend op de stroom die geen einde leek te hebben.’

Na een kunstenstudie in Xi’an volgde ze haar inspiratiebron, het ontembare water  van de meanderende rivier stroomopwaarts. Reizend van de ene naar de andere provincie, Qinghai, Ningxia en verder. Tot aan de halfwoestijn van Binnen-Mongolië. In Tibet verdiepte ze haar sympathie voor etnische minderheden, ze legde hun verdwijnende cultuur vast op papier.

Europa was een volgend reisdoel. In Zwitserland en Nederland bekwaamde ze zich vooral in grafische kunsten, etsen met droge naald, diepdruk en zink. Maar de hang naar penselen en vloeibare materialen bleef. De overgang naar shuimo verliep vanzelfsprekend, ook in haar grafiek lag de nadruk steeds op werken met inkt als grondstof van een heel oeuvre.


Blog of Nov 2015

IDFA International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, November 20 – December 1


Fuck the government! Aan het eind van de door zijn eigen studioteam gemaakte documentaire So Sorry (2012) komt kunstenaar/beroepsprovocateur Ai Weiwei close in beeld. Jengelend als een gefrustreerde puber wil hij zijn plaaggeesten in de Chinese overheid jennen met scandaleuze kreten. Voor extra effect gezongen op de tonen van een populair kinderliedje. Het oogt geforceerd en over-the-top, zoals we de getergde Ai Weiwei vaker zien in deze film, luid fulminerend tegen zijn belagers. Goed, hij zat in 2011 tachtig dagen vast, zonder rechtshulp, en hij mag sindsdien Beijing niet meer uit in afwachting van een schijnproces wegens vermeende belastingontduiking, een aanklacht die pas na zijn vrijlating openbaar is gemaakt. Dat dit onrecht hem is aangedaan zal de hele (kunst)wereld weten!
Tijdens de Biennale in Venetië was zijn werk niet op één, maar op drie lokaties te bewonderen (o.a. een geboetseerde reconstructie van zijn celleven, dag en nacht bewaakt door twee cipiers in uniform).
Inmiddels is een tiental films over en door Ai Weiwei geproduceerd. De keuze riekt naar gemakzucht en versterkt overbelichting. Voor veel galeries en (film)festivals lijkt er nog maar een enkele Chinese knuffeldissident over. Terwijl door Xi Jinpings regeringsploeg uitgevaardigde nieuwe restricties inzake vrijheid van meningsuiting vele duizenden collega’s treffen. Temidden van China’s trendy economische lift blijven zij onderbelicht.