Date of birth
Place Of birth
Born in Beijing in 1982, Ma Qiusha grew up in the centre of the city, in a traditional ‘hutong’ courtyard house. She is a ‘true’ Beijinger, proud of this familial link to her city, which informs much of her work. In 2005, after graduating from the Digital Media Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, she headed to New York to complete her MFA at Alfred University. From No. 4 Pinguanli to No.4 Tianqiaobeili, which brought her a degree of notoriety in 2007, shows the artist speaking at length about her childhood. Expressionless, she recounts how her mother pressured her to study art, and to excel at school. She was constantly exhorted to do better, to be better. After a while you see that she is speaking with more and more difficulty, repeatedly swallowing. She appears to have an obstruction in her mouth. At the end of her monologue, when she removes the object, you realise she has been speaking with a razorblade on her tongue, and her mouth is filled with blood. The metaphor of the blade is horrifyingly immediate. Ma Qiusha presents the voice of the one-child generation, at once indulged and pressured, the products of an enormous social experiment and its unintended consequences.