Yuyu Yang 楊英風 (b. 1926 – d. 1997)

Yuyu Yang, also known as Yang Ying-feng, was born in Ilan County, Taiwan, in 1926. Yang received his education from the Tokyo Academy of Fine Arts (now National Tokyo University of Art), Fu Jen Catholic University in Peiping (Beijing today) and the National Taiwan Normal University Fine Arts Department. In the 1960s, he conducted research studies in sculpture at the University of Rome and the National Institute of Design and Mint in the Eternal City. Yang lectured at the National Academy of Arts, Tamkang University and Minchuan College and published more than 20 titles on art. His lifetime career in the arts produced more than a thousand works, ranging from prints, sculpture, laser art, to landscaping and architectural designs, many of which were award winning. Yang was a teacher and mentor to Master sculptor Ju Ming, the Taiwanese artist renowned for his Taichi Series and Living World Series.

Yuyu Yang’s love for nature dates back to his days as a boy in picturesque Ilan where he grew up amidst lush mountains and rivers. With an interest in architecture and 3D-making, he studied the relationship between building materials and environmental science with regional climate and human living environments. In Beijing during his university days, Yang learnt taichi and visited the Yungang Buddhist grottoes, constantly eager to imbibe the essence of Chinese culture.

Three years sojourn in Rome in the 1960’s gave Yang a greater understanding of Western art history and aesthetics, and an appreciation for the differences between the East and the West, historically, culturally and artistically. From 1964–66, Yang actively took part in many exhibitions across different cities in Italy, including Legano, Turin, Rome, Messina, Spa and Venice. One of the notable exhibitions was in 1994, where he participated in a group show titled “Contemporary Chinese Art Exhibition” at the Modern Art Museum in Rome. In 1966, he was awarded a prize for sculpture and painting at the “Olympics of Art and Culture” event in Abano Terme, Italy.

From 1968 to early 1980s, he continued to exhibit extensively overseas including  Tokyo, Osaka, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York and Seattle. This work “Mirror of the Soul” was displayed at the 2nd Modern International Sculpture Museum in Hakone, Japan.

Upon his return to Taiwan, he cast his focus on the Chinese philosophy of “unity between man and heaven” with its emphasis on man and harmony, co-existence with the natural world. In the 1970s, he worked in a local marble factory and started a series of innovative works called “Lifescape Sculpture”, wherein “life” is the external form of sculpture that must interact with the outside natural environment. Working primarily in stainless steel, Yang favours the smooth, flawless quality of these mirror-like surfaces that lends his sculpture to sit well within the environment. The natural balance or juxtaposition of the natural world and his sculptures has become a central theme or philosophy in his life’s work.

From the mid 1980s to early 1990s, Yang created a few notable public art projects for museums and corporations, some key international examples include the Union Bank of Singapore, Peking Olympic Sports Centre in China and the Sunrider Museum in Los Angeles, USA. In Taiwan, his work has been acquired and installed by Taipei Fine Arts Museum, International Convention Centre in Taipei, Taipei Bank, Kaohsiung World Trade Building, Tinan County Stadium and National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan. During this time, Yang continued to participate in group exhibitions internationally including the National Museum in Singapore, in Paris, Japan, New York and New Jersey.

In 1993, he enjoyed a retrospective exhibition “Yuyu Yang 60-year Retrospective Exhibition” at the Taiwan Museum of Art in Taichung. In 1995, he was the first international Fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. Subsequently in (1996), he was invited by the Royal Society of British Sculptors to hold a six-month special exhibition at Chelsea Harbour, London, U.K.

In 1997, the year before he passed away, Yang completed a public art commission for the Yilan County Government in Taiwan and Hakone Open-Air Museum in Japan organised a solo exhibition titled “Lifescape Sculpture of Yuyu Yang”.

In 1998, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Library celebrated his life’s work by organising an exhibition called “Sculpturing Time and Space – Yuyu Yang (1927 – 1997). Yang died in Hsinchu, Taiwan in 1997.

Images of artworks


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