Ascending and Descending

7 Jun 2024 – 5 Jul 2024

Regular hours

11:00 – 13:0014:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 13:0014:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 13:0014:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 13:0014:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 13:0014:00 – 19:00

Free admission

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Galerie j /

Île-de-France, France


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Galerie j / is pleased to present Ascending and Descending, Hong Kong artist Ivy MA King Chu’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.


Galerie J/ is pleased to present Ascending and Descending, Hong Kong artist Ivy MA King Chu’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Ivy has been continuously exploring painting, photography, and installation art for over twenty years. Her work has entered a unique new phase in recent years. In 2021, Ivy left Hong Kong and began a nomadic travel with her family. They stay in each city for a few weeks to several months and are still on the move. This dramatic lifestyle change has influenced her artistic practice. She began creating with simple, readily available materials, completing all her works during her travels, and they can always be packed up to accompany her on her next journey. This exhibition marks the first display of these light, rich, and powerful new works in France.

The exhibition title "Ascending and Descending" includes "Ascending," which encompasses the recurrent bird imagery in the artist's new phase, the metaphysical exploration of abstract art, and the transcendence and spirituality they jointly point to. "Descending" corresponds to the continual repetition and extension of daily life, the sudden interruption of events, and the theme of death, which is closely tied to transcendence.

Upon entering the first-floor exhibition space, visitors will see over a hundred new works from the "Bird Of Shape: Cities" series arranged chronologically, providing an archival panoramic record. During her long journey, Ivy began capturing images of birds in different cities. She set her camera to take two consecutive frames in rapid succession, printed the captured photos on paper, and then used cutting, collage, and painting to destruct and reorganize them. As a result, distance and space are rearranged, and the concrete and abstract are intricately juxtaposed. The ascending birds transform into ingenious and witty images that seem to endlessly vary in metaphor.

The underground exhibition space offers a more intimate feel: a series of works are quietly gathered in various corners, along with letters from the curator, awaiting the audience to open and read them. "Bird Of Shape: Scrap Pad" is an impromptu experiment by the artist using leftover fragments from her creations; "Bird Of Shape: Four Cut-outs and Two Shades" attempts to introduce a certain proactive order in the game of cutting and pasting, bringing abstract art into a fascinating position that traverses two and three dimensions. A group of emotionally intense works about Hong Kong is also hidden here, reminding viewers to feel the omnipresent homesickness in the artist's seemingly romantic and unrestrained journey—not just a sentimental response to a specific city and its turbulent current events, but also a universal contemplation on "how people truly connect with places."

A new work specially created for this exhibition, "A Study of an Episode in The Passion of Joan of Arc," is inspired by Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer's film "La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc" (the bird imagery that continually appears in Ivy's work initially came from this film). It borrows the close-up of Joan's feet descending the spiral staircase to her death, responding to the unique design of the gallery space and serving as a distinctive counterpoint to the many ascending bird images in the exhibition. Keep walking—ascending, descending, historical, future—they ultimately merge into one through accidental encounters.

What to expect? Toggle


Chris Wan

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Ivy MA King Chu


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