Wang Dongling 王冬齡 (b.1945)

Wang Dongling is one of China’s most highly regarded calligrapher and ink artist. He is best known for his public performances involving large format “wild cursive” script, a Chinese calligraphic style characterized by its erratic and dynamic strokes. His works are often deeply rooted in the ancient philosophies of Buddhism and Daoism, as well as Chinese poetry. Wang graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art from the Nanjing Normal University (Nanjing, China) in 1966 and a Master’s Degree in Fine Art from the Calligraphy Department of Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (Hangzhou, China) in 1981.

Wang’s prolific career spans across the past two decades, during which he first gained rapid recognition in China for his calligraphic work. His classical training enabled him to hone his repertoire of traditional techniques in calligraphy, forming a solid foundation on which he began his journey of expression with ink in the early 1980s. In 1989, he traveled to the United States, where he taught the practice of calligraphy to Western art students, at the same time participating in several solo exhibitions held at different universities around the country. During this particular period, Wang immersed himself in the modern works of acclaimed artists such as Picasso, Klee, Miro and Matisse. In the 1990s, he traveled to Japan, where he became deeply influenced by the works of Japanese calligraphic master, Inoue Yuichi. By this time, Wang had ventured far from his roots as a traditional Chinese calligrapher, combining his knowledge and experiences with experimental techniques, resulting in remarkable reinterpretations of the ancient art form. Breaking free from conventional notions of Chinese calligraphy, his works embraced movement, space and gestural abstraction, liberating each and every written character from the bounds of text. In his current practice, Wang continues to push the boundaries, relentlessly practicing his well-honed techniques and exploring new and highly experimental ones, such as the use of photosensitive materials to create calligraphic compositions on photographic paper.

Wang’s works have been prominently exhibited at institutions and several international venues such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City, USA), Guggenheim Museum (New York City, USA), National Art Museum of China (Beijing, China) and the Palace Museum (Beijing, China). They can also be found amongst others in the collections of the British Museum (London), the Zhejiang Museum of Fine Art, (Hangzhou, China), the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, USA), Harvard University (Cambridge, USA), and the University of California, Berkley (USA). Presently, he is a professor of calligraphy at the Calligraphy Department of China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2016, Public performance of chaos-script (luanshu) calligraphy, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2016, Public performance of chaos-script (luanshu) calligraphy, Library and Archives Canada, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2016, Between Heaven and Heart, Imperial Ancestral Temple Art Museum, Beijing, China
  • 2016, Public performance of calligraphy, Guiyang Confucius Academy, Guiyang, China
  • 2016, Wang Dongling: Contemporary Calligraphy, Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2016, Public performance of chaos-script (luanshu) calligraphy, British Museum, London, United Kingdom
  • 2016, Public performance of chaos-script (luanshu) calligraphy, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom
  • 2016, Public performance of chaos-script (luanshu) calligraphy, Imperial Ancestral Temple Art Museum, Beijing, China
  • 2015, Public calligraphy performance, Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2015, “The Heart Sutra in Chaos Script”, public calligraphy performance, Brooklyn Museum, New York, the United States of America
  • 2015, “‘Drinking by the Lake: Clear Sky followed by Rain’ by Su Shi,” public calligraphy performance, Apple Store West Lake, Hangzhou, China
  • 2015, Writing Non-Writing: Calligraphic Works by Wang Dongling, Sanshang, Contemporary Art Museum, Hangzhou, China
  • 2015, Wang Dongling · The Heart Sutra, Wenzhou Contemporary Art Museum, Wenzhou, China
  • 2015, New Works, Chambers Fine Art, New York, the United States of America

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2017, Boundless: On Going Chinese Ink Art, Art Museum of Sichuan Fine Arts Institute, Chongqing, China
  • 2016, Open Books: International Artists Explore the Chinese Folding Book, Library and Archives Canada, Vancouver, Canada
  • 2016, Shan Shui A Manifesta, Gong Wang Art Museum, Hangzhou, China
  • 2016, Shan Shui Within, Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai, China
  • 2016, Light Writers 2016, Light Gallery, Hangzhou, China
  • 2015, 10th World Calligraphy Biennale of Jeollabuk-do, Jeonju, Korea
  • 2015, Magic Mountains, Hong Kong S.A.R., China
  • 2015, Hangzhou International Modern Calligraphy Exhibition and Writing Nor- writing Document Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art of CAA, Hangzhou, China
  • 2015, China 8 – Contemporary Art from China at Rhine & Ruhr, Kunstmuseum, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
  • 2014, Kochi-Murizis Biennale – Collateral Project “Janela-Migrating Forms and Migrating Gods” , Mill Hall Compound, Kochi, India
  • 2014, Orchid Pavilion Calligraphy Biennial, Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou, China
  • 2014, Guanshan Gathering: Works by Zheng Shengtian and Wang Dongling, Chambers Fine Art, New York, USA
  • 2014, Ink and the Body, Ink Studio, Beijing, China
  • 2014, China’s Changing Landscape—Contemporary Chinese Ink, Nordiska Akvarellmuseet (Nordic Watercolour Museum), Goteborg, Sweden

Awards and honors

  • 2012, “Orchid Pavilion Prize: The Art Prize” in The 4th Chinese Calligraphy Orchid Pavilion Exhibition
  • 2011, Named “Annual Influential Artist”, 6th Award of Art China (AAC)
  • 2011, Named “Annual Top Ten Persons in Chinese Calligraphy”
  • 2006, “Orchid Pavilion Prize: The Education Prize (The First Prize)” in The 2nd Chinese Calligraphy Orchid Pavilion Exhibition
  • 2005, Named “Annual Top Ten Persons in Chinese Calligraphy”
  • 1997, “The Grand Prix” in Worldwide Calligraphy of Jeollabuk-do Biennale

Selected Collections

British Museum, London, UK Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA, Stanford University, California, USA Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA Yale University, New Haven, USA University of California, Berkeley, California, USA University of Minnesota, Minnesota, USA Asian Studies Center at Michigan State University, Michigan, USA North Dakota Museum of Art, North Dakota, USA National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China National Library of China, Beijing, China The Palace Museum, Beijing, China Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution, Beijing, China Zhejiang Art Museum, Hangzhou, China Peking University, Beijing, China Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA

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