Wang Dongling's solo exhibition explores journey of Chinese calligraphy

Updated: Oct 20, 2021 Print
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The exhibition From Inception: Wang Dongling 60 Years of Calligraphy opens at the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou on Oct 16. [Photo provided to]

The exhibition From Inception: Wang Dongling 60 Years of Calligraphy opened at the Zhejiang Art Museum in Hangzhou on Oct 16, focusing on Wang's 60-year exploration of both traditional and modern style calligraphy.

"After six decades of exploration, Wang gave his answer to the future development of calligraphy in the context of the integration of East and West", said Chen Zhenlian, vice chairman of the China Federation of Literary and Art Circles. This exhibition also served as a milestone in the history of both Wang's solo exhibitions and Chinese calligraphy exhibitions as a whole, and it will last until Nov 14.

Feelings of visiting the Pyramids in Egypt created by Wang Dongling in 2011. [Photo provided to]

Wang Dongling, born in 1945 in Rudong, Jiangsu province, graduated from the first calligraphy class of Zhejiang Academy of Arts (now China Academy of Art) in 1981 and now is a professor in the Calligraphy Department and Director of the Contemporary Calligraphy Research Centre of China Academy of Art. As one of the most highly-regarded and talented Chinese calligraphers with international reputation for years, Wang explores the fusion of tradition and modernity, east and west, abstract and concrete, art and life in his calligraphy works.

The road in bamboo groves created by Wang Dongling in 2017. [Photo provided to]

Wang has long been active in the creation of Chinese traditional calligraphy and the innovation of modern Chinese calligraphy as a calligrapher and an instructor. Since the 1990s, Wang began to conduct extensive and in-depth calligraphy experiments and started his creation journey of modern calligraphy.

"In 1981, I taught calligraphy overseas. Students there allowed me to consider calligraphy in new ways and think about the ways in which others view art. I started to realize that pure calligraphy exercises are constrained and monotonous. New ideas should be developed to strengthen and broaden the artistic expression of the art form", said Wang. His first modern calligraphy piece Powerful and Unconstrained (Tian Ma Xing Kong) was the starting point for Wang to broaden his calligraphy skills. Works that combine traditional Chinese art with modern technology are also displayed at this exhibition, such as the works using iPad presented in Exhibition Hall No 4.

According to Wang, "Calligraphy is not only a dialogue between contemporary art and tradition, but also a dialogue between global civilization and digital technology". Since the beginning of the new century, he has personally initiated a project to construct writing scenes of Chinese calligraphy at the most important art institutions worldwide and promoted academic communication between calligraphy and international art circles.

As a prominent modernist Chinese calligrapher, Wang's works have been exhibited at the National Art Museum of China, the Palace Museum (Taipei), the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library and Archives Canada and the Vancouver Art Gallery as well as a number of prestigious universities worldwide.

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