Kafka Morning
266 x 196 cm, 56 x 56 cm
Oil on canvas


‘We are like abandoned children, lost in the forest. Do you feel my sorrow when you stand in front of me? Do you feel your own sorrow?’
Franz Kafka

The artwork is composed of two parts. The first painting present a bizarre and mysterious world. Reality has been subverted and the displaced shark creates an uncertain atmosphere. As the viewer gazes at the artwork, they undergo a process of assimilation and begin to empathise with the shark. They sense the shark’s hopeless situation; it will either die alone or in an undignified struggle. Either way, the shark cannot avoid its ultimate fate, which is to become a sacrificial object to human greed. The other small artwork depicts a shark swimming in the ocean. The painting shows the spray from a rising wave: this dynamic image establishes an asymmetrical bond with the calmness of the other painting. Both paintings focus on the broad topic of existence and there are semantic correlations between the two. By maintaining a distance from real life, the artworks encourage an exploration of the relationship between humans and sharks, and between humans themselves. They challenge the notions of rationality, knowledge, human nature and desire.



Born in 1983 in Liaoning province, Ma Mingze graduated from the Oil Painting Department at the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts. She incorporates literary references into her artworks to enrich their subject matter. She currently lives and works in Beijing.

Kafka Morning - Ma Mingze - Beijing 2015
Kafka Morning - Ma Mingze - Beijing 2015