Maleonn (Ma Liang) - Last Tango in Shanghai #4, 2009 (detail)

Maleonn /   Ma Liang

China 1972

Installation, Photography, Design

Ma Liang
October 11, 2015
Bojan is an author for Widewalls. He is particularly interested in English linguistics and culture. Bojan is also interested in Photography and Digital Art.

Maleonn, also known as Ma Liang, is a Chinese graphic designer and photographer. Although his works deal with a variety of themes, all of them share a unique, surreal character which gives them almost a magical feel.

Maleonn was born into an artistic family in Shanghai in 1972. His mother is an actress, while his father is the director of Beijing Opera. He was encouraged to pursue art from early childhood, and showed interest in painting early on. Maleonn graduated from the Fine Art College of Shanghai University, majoring in Graphic Design.

The Photography of Maleonn

Maleonn - Maleonn's Photo Studio No. 1, 2011
Maleonn – Maleonn’s Photo Studio No. 1, 2011

The artworks of Maleonn are very complex in nature – the images require carefully laid out stages and elaborate costumes and props. The subjects in his images are usually actors who appear in fantastical settings in a variety of bizarre contexts. Maleonn’s work has been associated with steampunk, since it shares the genre’s general old-fashioned feel, and the elements of science fiction and horror are present in both. The images are multi-layered, each telling a tale of its own.

King of the Ridiculous – Chapter Two, 2010

Maleonn - King of the Ridiculous - Chapter Two, No. 4, 2010
Maleonn – King of the Ridiculous – Chapter Two, No. 4, 2010

In his series of works entitled Portrait of Mephisto, Maleonn gives his rendering of the tale of Faust, with a special emphasis on the demon Mephisto, the devil’s envoy. Maleonn’s skills as a painter become apparent in this series, seeing as they were taken in black and white and were later hand-painted on. In Second-hand Tang Poems, he tackles a problem closer to home. He uses elements often found in classical Chinese poetry and painting. These are used to demonstrate how little Chinese traditions are held up, and how their values are lost.

Portrait of Mephisto series

Maleonn (Ma Liang) - Portrait of Mephisto, #1, 2006
Maleonn (Ma Liang) – Portrait of Mephisto, #1, 2006

Maleonn works constitute a part of group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the DeVos Art Museum at Northern Michigan University. He has an exhibition of his own at the Shanghai Art Museum, as well. >Magda Danysz Gallery represents him.

Maleonn works and creates in Shanghai, China.

Featured image: Maleonn (Ma Liang) – Last Tango in Shanghai #4, 2009 (detail)
All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Sleeping BeautyMagda Danysz Gallery, ParisGroup
2014INSIGHTMagda Danysz Gallery, ShanghaiGroup
2014Maleonn Studio MobileMagda Danysz Gallery, ParisSolo
2013ChoicesMagda Danysz Gallery, ShanghaiGroup
2013Maleonn - Studio MobileMagda Danysz Gallery, ShanghaiSolo
2013The Birdy: Maleonn's 10 Years Retrospective in ArtTime Culture Complex Art Center, Guangzhou, ChinaSolo
2013The International Photography Festival GuatePhoto 2012Guatemala City, Central America, USAGroup
2012Maleonn's Photo StudioGalerie Paris-Beijing, Paris, FranceSolo
2012LATITUDE - ATTITUDE: 20th Anniversary ExhibitionSchoeni Art Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2012ATTITUDE: 20th Anniversary ExhibitionSchoeni Art Gallery and Parkview Green Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2011Maleonn's Mobile Studio18 Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2011White on WhiteParis Photo with Magda Galery, Paris, FranceSolo
2011Pure Satire2902 Gallery, SingaporeSolo
2011MaleonnEspace Art 22, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2011White on WhiteAJG Contemporary Art Gallery, Seville, SpainSolo
2011Mechanism of ForgettingHuelva Museum, Huelva, Spain Group
2011Ballarat International Foto BiennaleBallarat, AustraliaGroup
2011Cracked Culture?Palazzo Giustinian Recanati, Venice Biennale, ItalyGroup
2011FOTOFESTIWALLodz Art Center, Lodz, PolandGroup
2011Gallery Artists Group ExhibitionBlindspot Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2011Far Away Beauty LingersOther Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2011Love & RecollectionsCath Alexandrine Danneskiiold-Samsøe Gallery, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
2011Uforudsigeligheden i det VelkendteGreen Square, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
2010The Unexpected WorldCO2 Gallery, Rome, ItalySolo
2010MaleonnStills Gallery, Sydney, AustraliaSolo
2010MaleonnGalleri S.E, Bergen, NorwaySolo
2010White On WhiteGalerie Magda Danysz, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2010A Departure from Reality III: The Tender TruthBlindspot Gallery, Hong KongGroup
2009The Kingdom of IllusionsParis- Beijing Galerie, Paris, FranceSolo
2009What Love IsOFOTO Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2009Shanghai LegendaryArtnext Gallery, New York, NY, USASolo
2009MaleonnCDS Art & Visibility, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
2009We & WeCath Alexandrine Danneskiiold-Samsøe Gallery, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
2009Group ShowAbove Second Artspace, Hong KongGroup
2009The 4th Duolun Young Artists ExhibitionShanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2009RehearsalShanghai Biennale, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2009CDS Art & VisibilityArt Copenhagen 2010 Nordic Art Fair, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
2009Soul of ChinaMagda Gallery, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Group ShowVejle Art Museum, Vejle, DenmarkGroup
2009Nature of China – Contemporary Art DocumentaTrue Color Museum, Suzhou, China Group
2009RESHAPPING HISTORY China from 2000 to 2009Today Art Museum, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2009Chinese Contemporary PhotographyFremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, AustraliaGroup
2009Passing China: Contemporary Chinese PhotographersGallery Sanstorium, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2009Foto Art Festival (FAF)Bielsko – Biala, PolandGroup
2009CDS Art & VisibilityArt Copenhagen 2009 Nordic Art Fair, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
2009Youth Fine Art BiennaleChongqing, ChinaGroup
2009Passing by China-Contemporary PhotographyEli Klein Fine Art, New York, NY, USAGroup
2009Reversed ImagesMuseum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL, USAGroup
2009GetxoPhoto FestivalGetxo, SpainGroup
2009Theatre – Shanghai Metropolitan PhotographyLiu Haisu Museum, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2009ToysCO2 Gallery, Rome, ItalyGroup
2009Present – TENSE Biennial, Chinese Culture CenterSan Francisco, CA, USAGroup
2009Children’s EpochAura Gallery, Beijing, ChinaGroup
2009FablesSiamsa Gallery, Tralee, IrelandGroup
2008FantasticMAG Visual Art Center, Hong KongSolo
2008Garden of MirrorsShanghai Art Museum, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2008MaleonnOgilvy Headquarter Art Centre, New York, NY, USASolo
2008Endless DreamerCO2 Gallery, Rome, ItalySolo
2008MaleonnGaleria Tribeca Arte, Madrid, SpainSolo
2008MaleonnEspace Art 22, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2008Days on the Cotton CandyKasia Art Project Gallery, Chicago, IL, USASolo
2008MarblesGossip Gallery, Bangkok, ThailandSolo
2008Shanghai LandToomey Tourell Fine Art, San Francisco, CA, USAGroup
2008Exquisite CorpseM97 Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2008United in ArtDe Voss Museum, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI, USAGroup
2008A LOOK AT THE WORLDPamplona, SpainGroup
2008The World of OthersMuseum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, ChinaGroup
2008Group ExhibitionGallery Caprice Horn, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2008House ArrestGallery Mai36, Zurich, SwissGroup
2008Out of the SpotlightCh’I Contemporary Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY, USAGroup
2008China Design NowVictoria and Albert Museum, London, UK Group
2007NostalgiaAround Space, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2007LabyrinthCraig Scott Gallery, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2007CicadaZendai Museum of Modern Art, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2007Chinese WallsWalls Gallery, Amsterdam, HollandGroup
2007Post-Vanguard, Chinese contemporary ArtHong KongGroup
2007What Makes Shanghai addictive?Berlin, GermanyGroup
2007Asiana – A Survey of Contemporary Asian ArtToronto, CanadaGroup
2007Whispering Wind: Recent Chinese PhotographyFirst Center of the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN, USAGroup
2007Dragon’s EvolutionChina-Square Art Center, New York, NY, USAGroup
2007Shanghai New ArtWashington Art Fair, Washington DC, USAGroup
2006Sweets and SoursArt Sea Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2006TransfigurationsCraig Scott Gallery, Toronto, CanadaSolo
2006WonderlandAura Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2006Happily Ever AfterHardcore Contemporary Art Space, Miami, FL, USAGroup
2006Diaporama FestivalNantes, FranceGroup
2006IDAA (International Digital Art Awards)Queensland, AustraliaGroup
2006The Virtual SalonMuseum of Chinese in America, New York, NY, USAGroup
2005Face to maskAdvance Gallery, Shanghai, ChinaSolo
2005Shadow Maker – MaleonnPingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, ChinaSolo
2005Maleonn Photography ExhibitionEsplanade National Art Centre, SingaporeSolo
2005Absent Minded – Group Exhibition of Photographers from ShanghaiLianzhou International Photography Festival, Lianzhou, ChinaGroup
2005CREATIONOlive Hyde Gallery, San Francisco, CA, USAGroup