Jennifer Wen Ma’s Brain Storm is a work in two parts: a single-channel video projected on a scroll-like screen in a gallery; and video stills, printed on transparent film, and mounted on the windows of the bridge walkway connecting the house to the Goh Annex. Showing a man and a horse crossing a stormy landscape, the piece alludes to an inner journey, or a brainstorm, unpredictable, uneven, and moody. Ma has reconfigured Brain Storm, originally commissioned in a three-channel version for Guggenheim Bilbao in 2009, for the smaller, more intimate space of the Phillips, adding an audio component—the sound of breath blown through lips—that reinforces the atmospheric quality of the piece. Brain Storm is displayed near Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and in conversation with landscapes by Paul Cézanne (The Garden at Les Lauves), Arthur Dove (Me and the Moon), and Wassily Kandinsky (Autumn II), works that for Ma evoke movement or travel, whether spatial, temporal, or mental.
The presentation of Brain Storm is made possible by Transformer and Shigeko Bork mu projects, in conjunction with Ink Storm, an exhibition curated by Ma at Transformer, Washington, DC (September 18–October 31, 2009).
Jennifer Wen Ma works in media other than video, including installation, drawing, fashion design, performance, and architectural and public art. Born in 1973 in Beijing, China, she moved to the United State in 1986, and received an MFA from Pratt Institute, New York, in 1999. She was a member of the core creative team for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, and chief designer for visual and special effects. She won an Emmy as an associate producer for the NBC broadcast of the Games’ opening ceremony.
Ma has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the 2006 Singapore Biennale and the 2009 Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial. Her upcoming exhibitions include Expo 2010 Shanghai, China; the 2010 Biennale of Sydney; and 2010 Taipei International Gardening and Horticulture Exposition, among others. Her permanent public artworks are displayed at the Digital Beijing Building, the Beijing Center for the Arts, and the National Art Museum of China.
Intersections is a series of contemporary art projects that explores—as the title suggests—the intriguing intersections between old and new traditions, modern and contemporary art practices, and museum spaces and artistic interventions. Whether engaging with the permanent collection or diverse spaces in the museum, the projects suggest new relationships with their own surprises.
Many of the projects also riff on the nontraditional nature of the museum’s galleries, sometimes activating spaces that are not typical exhibition areas with art produced specifically for those locations.