Ma Desheng 馬德升

(Chinese, active in France, b.1952)
calligraphy: 138.5 x 64 cm (54 1/2 x 25 3/16 in.); Overall: 201 x 71.3 cm (79 1/8 x 28 1/16 in.); Overall with knobs: 201 x 81 cm (79 1/8 x 31 7/8 in.)
Location: not on view
This artwork is known to be under copyright.

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Did You Know?

Ma transforms the first character 古 “ancient” into a square building surmounted with what looks like a Christian cross.


Ma Desheng was the cofounder and spokesman of the Stars (Xingxing 星星), a constellation of avant-garde artists active between 1979 and 1983. He is interested in using art for personal versus collective or propagandistic purposes. Ma moved from Beijing to Paris in 1986 and was knighted in October 2021 by the French Minister of Culture for his contributions to the arts.

Ma wrote “the ancient Buddha sits and has no words” after dreaming of climbing the sacred Mount Tai and seeing the silent Buddha. His artistic and political experiences had also taught him that wordlessness represents a kind of strength and wisdom.



Ma Desheng

(Chinese, active in France, b.1952)
France, Paris

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