The Tao of Chinese Calligraphy is the way to the whole world

Exhibition at the Zhejiang Art Museum “From the Beginning: 60 Years of Calligraphy by Wang Dongling”

Posted: October 16, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. EDT|Update: 4 hours ago

HANGZHOU, China, October 16, 2021 / PRNewswire / – The exhibition “From Inception: Wang Dongling 60 Years of Calligraphy” opens at the Zhejiang Art Museum on October 16, 2021. This exhibition focuses on the professor of the Chinese Academy of Arts, Wang Dongling’s 60-year exploration of the art of calligraphy, from traditional calligraphy to other styles such as chaos writing ( tangled calligraphy), great handwriting, silver gelatin calligraphy, calligraphy on bamboo stems, calligraphy using immersive virtual reality, etc. The long period covered by the exhibitions, the diversity of styles, the depth of academic research and the novelty of media experimentation are unprecedented not only in the history of Wang Dongling’s solo exhibition, but also in the history of Chinese calligraphy exhibition.

For a calligrapher artist with six decades of experience, Wang Dongling is still open-minded to emerging media technologies. According to him, a conversation with new technologies is a conversation with the future. In October 2015, Tim cook, CEO of Apple Inc., came Hangzhou and visited Wang Dongling to learn Chinese calligraphy from him. The event gave rise to a lively discussion between people from all walks of life, nationally and internationally. Earlier in 2013, Wang Dongling cooperated with famous new media artist Jeffrey shaw on “Great Writing”. In 2020, during the global rage of Covid-19, he is invited by the American director Pierre Sellars to participate in the transdisciplinary art project entitled “This body is so impermanent …”

Wang Dongling has been carrying out extensive and in-depth calligraphy experiments since the 1990s. He never considers calligraphy as a kind of legacy, but promotes the open and experimental potential of calligraphy so that calligraphy, as an art form old, can become a member of the contemporary art world.

In the Exhibition Hall No. 4 of the Zhejiang Art Museum, named “Fantastic Land of Calligraphy”, there is a world of colorful glaze illuminated by both lights and colors: ink paintings from abstract to calligraphy in silver gelatin, including the use of materials such as the stainless steel mirror. and clear acrylic, and to many representations through new media such as iPad calligraphy and digital motion capture art.

In Exhibition Hall No.5, named “Scholar’s Snow Cave”, the small-sized works in regular writing and large-sized works in cursive writing encompass calligraphy genres such as album sheets, scrolls, inscriptions on tablets, screens, etc. , meticulous laws and discipline as well as a grandiose and particular beauty, these works express the artist’s deep immersion and training in the tradition of calligraphy and the gesture towards daring possibilities of innovation.

The scrolls suspended in four scripts in Exhibition Hall No.6 showcase Wang Dongling’s six-decade creative journey. The newly created “Big Writing” installation in commemoration of the 2,500th anniversary of Confucius ‘death depicts the contours of Confucius’ journey. The shift from cursive writing of deep traditional depth to entangled calligraphy is also a response to the artist’s personal life course.

Wang Dongling spoke about teaching foreign students and the resulting enlightenment: “In 1981, I taught calligraphy to foreign students. the practice of calligraphy had become too restrictive and monotonous for me. I believe that new ideas should be developed to strengthen and expand the artistic expression of calligraphy. After a conversation with a bearded Colombian student in 1983, I began to practice modern calligraphy “in secret”. “Powerful and unconstrained (Tian Ma Xing Kong)“was my first piece of modern calligraphy. I had a starting point to broaden my calligraphy skills from that point on.”

In the 1990s, he personally taught at University of Minnesota and many other higher institutions and actively participated in academic activities abroad on contemporary art. He said: “I taught calligraphy at several universities in United States, Germany, and Japan. I have taught Chinese calligraphy pen and ink techniques to foreign students, but I don’t want them to become “Chinese calligraphers” who can properly imitate the classical works of famous writers such as Yan Zhenqing. Instead, I want them to be able to use this most basic and traditional artistic language of China once they have mastered and internalized it, so that their creativity can flourish and enrich their own artistic creation “. United States, he pointed out that “some Westerners write calligraphy not to write Chinese characters, but to draw abstract images, and they learn calligraphy not to be a Chinese calligrapher, but to learn artistic techniques and be inspired by calligraphy to create other arts. I began to realize that calligraphy is not only a dialogue with tradition, but also with world civilization. It is not only a dialogue with the contemporary art but also with digital technology.

Since the new century, he personally initiated the project titled “Big Characters Travel the World,” a plan to build Chinese calligraphy writing scenes in the world’s most important art institutions, promoting academic communication between calligraphy and the international artistic circle. In his view, Chinese calligraphers should proactively and confidently enter the international art scenes to enlighten and inspire each other in intercultural exchange. It is only by “manifesting the common through differences” that calligraphy can find its true origin in cultural dialogues and make its contribution to the culture of humanity as a whole. As a result, calligraphy must transcend “the controversy between East and West”.

His works are represented in the collections of the National Art Museum of China, the Palace Museum (Taipei), Peking University, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Library and Archives Canada, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Vancouver Art Gallery, as well as universities such as Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley.

Chinese Academy of Arts President Gao Shiming said, “How to revitalize the unique intellectual genealogy of Chinese calligraphy in a spirit of cosmopolitan sharing? How to make calligraphy a cause that is always lasting and open? With his tireless efforts and constant experimentation over the past six decades, Wang Dongling provides us with a significant example. For sixty years, he has tirelessly explored the great tradition of Chinese calligraphy and constantly seeks inspiration through the great horizon of world art. • Non-writing “he returns to the vital source of calligraphy and opens his creative space. For calligraphy, he has a great vision: to revitalize the great tradition of calligraphy for the contemporary public, to spread the Tao of calligraphy in Chinese civilization to the whole world. For himself, he has a firm position: to remain indifferent to praise and condemnation, to favors and shames, to li ve as he wishes, to do justice to this. life.”

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SOURCE Chinese Academy of Arts

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