Ma Ke (born in Zibo, China) studied painting at the Tianjin Academy of Fine Arts and at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. In 1998/1999, he was a visiting professor of painting in Eritrea, where he gathered culturally significant experiences that have also found their way into his art. In 2017, Ma Ke completed an artist residency with the Laforêt Summer Vacation Project in Italy. He lives and works in Beijing.
Ma Ke’s paintings captivate viewers with the clarity of their expression and their subtle power. His motifs of people in ostensibly adventurous and challenging settings, at times with dangerous set pieces, appear to us like scenes from a theatrical play. Bodies and faces are often dramatized, seeming masklike and exaggerated in their unnatural distortions and expressiveness, which is, paradoxically, what makes them even more readable and striking.