There were so many pictures that my eyes kept glancing everywhere. I loved being alone in this place surrounded by a stranger's memories. I was drowning in someone else's world. Things that kept their attention so wild (maybe) that their souvenirs were kept alive through these photographs.
It translates as a beautiful love language and therapy.
It's a glimpse at a normal life, it's a glimpse of everyday life. - Skyscraper, luggage, windows. - In New York City, Mountains, the Metro. - Street, buildings, people. The air current in the room slapped those pictures back and forth. It was a dance, it was quite romantic. It formed part of the show. That's what I told myself.
So, welcome to Home is a Concept, the solo exhibition by Xiao Ma (Smile). It happened months ago at Caudan Art Center, but it felt so right to share it now. A plethora of photographs squeezed into a place not bound by time and space.
It was a photography expo, unlike any other I've seen. It was scattered with surprises, things that came from the heart: Take one for free <3! Like a beautiful poster to adorn your house.
It was those strings that mounted up the ceiling, some photographs were so high that I bet a giraffe wouldn't even have a peek. But it kept the mystery floating in this partially empty space. Nothing in your home needs to be seen to exist, right? And this expo clearly transpired that.
I love art because once it's out to the world it blends with its environment to shape itself nicely. Like this little light in this black-and-white photo. Was it even in the original photograph or did it appear kindly? I don't reckon but that's what I call beauty.
Black and white photos taste like my fav type of ice cream. It melts in the mind and you only focus on what catches the eye.
I've walked miles and miles sneaking around these hanging photographs. I even came back to grasp it all twice. With the artist's memories swinging here and there, it was and still feels like a trip in the transformative journey of Xiao Ma.
How can you ever feel lonely with all these faces staring at you? And the hustle bustle of Xiao Ma's surrounding even got caught in their numerous photo films.
Is the art party ever over?
How could it be? I've learnt to lose myself in spaces like these and I do -like it -like that. Art photography is pure, there is no fakeness. What you see is what is, there is no disguise. That's how I feel. That's why I felt at home around these unknown faces. Eyes wide, I've scanned a few and snapped a few - once or twice in every angle to share them with you.
Is it selfish to use art to lose my mind?
It's like a horse that runs wild at dawn. With that cold breeze morphing the body, there's no better feeling than that. A gaze is all you need to know that it's revelling in its definition of freedom.
" I miss everything I can't have" - Xiao Ma (Smile)
A mixed of rural photographs and the ones in the city. A clash of aesthetic so profound, that it doesn't go unnotice. There's no photographer similar to each other. Each one brings forth their sparkling light and flesh.
I hope it's not the last Xiao Ma's show I'll get to see, cause their gift is something I'd like to witness as it expands through happiness, grief and sadness.
It tickles me each time - to see and feel the world differently.
A friend, an artist or a complete stranger grant me just that. With my feet above the ground, I was blessed with this gift - Call it HOME IS A CONCEPT.
I like to keep some things to myself but, not today. I was too busy stitching my wounds through Grace's Chronicles back in January/February, that I left this one in apnea. HOME IS A CONCEPT is a beautiful reminiscence of the time a "Prince came under his red coat on his white horse to leave like a ghost".
I need this expo as a mini-documentary series, retracing what has been, was and still is.
Grasp each photograph from now on and make it your own. Let your mind run wild like the horse at dawn.
A little couch to lie down, to feel at ease while the mind travels from home to home.
I bet Xiao Ma's camera is a gentle companion. A companion that supports their healing process, a companion that helps them become the best version of themselves.
Art photography is a form of expression where for a moment we see through the eyes of the artist. How he/she/them senses the world, feel and that holds true beauty.
Please, pause and read!
We all have a creative spirit. It's amazing to see how we express ourselves differently but there's always a form of commonality. It could be to share a passion, love or a simple invitation to embark on a self-expression journey.
Xiao Ma feels so much and it's a gift. The photographs speak for themselves.
It's upside down!
Home is where the heart is.
Paper plastered everywhere like the walls of New York. Emails addressed to Marvin, to narrate the where, why and when.
I've waited a while to read these blocs of paragraphs to digest it all and it was overwhelming, beautiful. In fact, what I wrote earlier was before I delve in her writing slowly. My perception of her work has gained much more clarity. HOME IS A CONCEPT gave me 2 shows. One through her photographs and the other one through her words.
Reading the lines Xiao Ma sent to Marvin Heiferman made me feel uneasy at first. It's like reading someone else's diary. It was intimate. Xiao Ma poured their emotions, shared their fears, and navigated through their working process and state of mind. Xiao Ma has a deep connection to their surroundings, to people. It makes all sense to me now.
"My mission as a photographer is to discover humanity in the machinery" - Xiao Ma (Smile)
A smile can make the whole world turn upside down and your show did that. I smiled and smiled!
Xiao Ma (Smile), thanks for drifting a while on our Island. Catching a glimpse of your talent was a gift. HOME IS A CONCEPT was a rollercoaster. You've shared the good and the bad days, the highs and lows, the order and chaos. When we fall we all need a place to hide. Your art was my hiding place back in February.
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