Ma Desheng Artworks

Ma's explorations in printmaking, painting, sculpture, and poetry have evolved from the politically-charged woodblock prints of his early years in China, to his widely recognised stacked stone assemblages, which appear at first as monuments of apparent neutrality. Guided by Taoist philosophy, Ma investigates endless visual possibilities for his signature forms, and their embodiment of energy, life, and spirit.

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Woodblock Prints

Following the Cultural Revolution, Ma Desheng and the Stars artists embraced the opportunity for individual artistic expression in a new phase of China's history, diverging from the propagandist art which had previously dominated the cultural scene. During this period Ma predominantly produced monochromatic woodblock prints. These ranged from geometric abstract compositions, such as Minions (1979) and Night Bird (1980), which reflect experimentation with line, negative space, and illustration—to politically responsive images with motifs related to freedom or repression. Solidarity (1979) outlines multiple outstretched arms which tower above a cluster of houses, while the energetic strokes depicting a hybridised bird-woman in Flying Goddess (1979) allude to a state of liberation. Ma has stated: 'We wanted to express democracy and freedom. And even beauty. At the time, beauty was not fashionable.'

Paintings and Drawings

Upon leaving China, Ma worked increasingly with calligraphy ink and acrylic paint. A car accident rendered him wheelchair-bound, however, he continued painting and used brush extensions to work with acrylics on large canvases. From the early 2000s, Ma composed images of piles of stones in endless variations of stacking and assemblage. Simplified, repetitive, and sparse, Ma's stone paintings explore dichotomies of stability and fragility; imbalance and equilibrium, lightness and weight.

Curator Jean-Paul Desroches has written: '...great stones with polished contours spring up from the rough backgrounds of violent contrasts, structured like the works of Brancusi, volcanic like those of Matisse, but as existential as Morandi's still lifes. He stacks up the stones to form his figures abolishing the boundaries between sculpture and painting.'

Sculptures

In his sculptural works, Ma Desheng translates his stone images into three-dimensional cast bronze forms, with his precariously balanced 'rocks' recalling the minimal biomorphic sculptures of Jean Arp, or the balancing rock totems of Ugo Rondinone. Varying vastly in scale — from the miniature bronze 'Untitled' series (2011), to the large outdoor iteration Scuptures (2019) presented at the Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire—Ma's precarious forms may be seen to embody the Taoist principle of the decentring of humans, or the bridging of the earth and sky.

Browse Artworks
Poésie des formes XV by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Poésie des formes XV, 2007 Acrylic on canvas
150 x 250 cm
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Poésie des formes XIV by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Poésie des formes XIV, 2013 Acrylic on canvas
150 x 250 cm
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Poésie des formes XII by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Poésie des formes XII, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
150 x 200 cm
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Poésie des formes XI by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Poésie des formes XI, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
150 x 200 cm
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Poésie des formes V by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Poésie des formes V, 2011 Acrylic on canvas
180 x 200 cm
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Poésie des formes III by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Poésie des formes III, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
130 x 162 cm
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Poésie des fores XIII by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Poésie des fores XIII, 2015 Acrylic on canvas
180 x 200 cm
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Sans titre by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Sans titre, 2011 Bronze
24 x 20 x 12 cm
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Sans titre III by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Sans titre III, 2010 Bronze
37 x 16 x 20 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1991 Ink on mounted paper on canvas
87.5 x 152.7 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1986 Ink on mounted paper on canvas
136 x 69.3 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1986 Ink on mounted paper on canvas
90 x 67.5 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1986 Ink on mounted paper on canvas
65.5 x 83 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1984 Ink on mounted paper on canvas
67 x 131 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1982 Ink on mounted paper on canvas
67.3 x 81 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1982 Ink on mounted paper on canvas
64 x 84 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2021 Vinyl paint on canvas
160 x 120 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canavs
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
160 x 120 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
120 x 160 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
120 x 160 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
120 x 160 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
162 x 130 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
162 x 130 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
162 x 130 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
162 x 130 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
130 x 162 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
250 x 100 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
195 x 130 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
130 x 195 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
220 x 200 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
200 x 220 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2022 Vinyl paint on canvas
250 x 400 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2018 Acrylic on cardboard
81 x 51 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1989 Chinese ink on paper
71 x 94.3 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2011 Bronze
30 x 24 x 19 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
130 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2011 Bronze
22 x 14 x 14 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2011 Bronze
24 x 20 x 12 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2011 Bronze
32 x 34 x 12 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2011 Bronze
20 x 26 x 11 cm
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La colonne céleste ondule by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng La colonne céleste ondule, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
180 x 300 cm
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La torture respire profondément by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng La torture respire profondément, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
250 x 150 cm
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Tier l'énergie en ouvrant et fermant by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Tier l'énergie en ouvrant et fermant, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
200 x 150 cm
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L'eau avance en suivant la vague by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng L'eau avance en suivant la vague, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
120 x 90 cm
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Chercher la lune dans la mer by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Chercher la lune dans la mer, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
200 x 400 cm
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Pousser la montagne Hua by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Pousser la montagne Hua, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
180 x 300 cm
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Untitled 1989 by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Ma Desheng Untitled 1989, 1989 Ink on paper
180 x 100 cm
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Sans titre by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Sans titre, 2011 Bronze
180 x 154 x 110 cm
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La grue se pose sur le rocher by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting, works on paper
Ma Desheng La grue se pose sur le rocher, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
250 x 150 cm
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Harmonie de l'homme by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Harmonie de l'homme, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
162 x 130 cm
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Dessiner le soleil et la lune by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Dessiner le soleil et la lune, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
180 x 200 cm
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Yin et Yang Communiquent by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Yin et Yang Communiquent, 2020 Acrylic on canvas
200 x 180 cm
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Untitled II by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled II, 2012 Bronze
30 x 20 x 12 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1987 Ink on paper
138 x 68 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2011 bronze
113 x 95 x 58 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2018 Acrylic on cardboard
51 x 81 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
130 x 194 cm
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Sans titre by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Sans titre, 2010 Bronze
23.5 x 28 x 13.5 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2010 Bronze
88 x 74 x 52 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
162 x 130 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
162 x 130 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork works on paper
Ma Desheng Untitled, 1987 Ink on paper
87.3 x 68.5 cm
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Untitled VIII by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled VIII, 2010 Bronze
86 x 81 x 56 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
162 x 130 cm
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Untitled VII by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled VII, 2010 Bronze
176 x 127 x 92 cm
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Untitled VI by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled VI, 2010 Bronze
180 x 135 x 80 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
97 x 146 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
146 x 97 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
150 x 220 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
150 x 220 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2019 Acrylic on canvas
220 x 150 cm
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Untitled IX by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled IX, 2010 Bronze
97 x 110 x 57 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2016 Acrylic on canvas
200 x 380 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2011 Bronze
21.5 x 19.5 x 8 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2010 Bronze
21 x 14 x 21 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
162 x 130 x 3 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2012 Acrylic on canvas
180 x 200 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2016 Acrylic on canvas
130 x 162 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
200 x 180 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
200 x 180 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2010 Bronze
180 x 110 x 65 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2010 Bronze
100 x 60 x 30 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork painting
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2017 Acrylic on canvas
10 x 300 cm
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Untitled by Ma Desheng contemporary artwork sculpture
Ma Desheng Untitled, 2010 Bronze
180 x 138 x 75 cm
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