Yang Mingyi 楊明義 China, b. 1943
Yang Mingyi was born in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, and graduated firstly from the College of Arts and Crafts in Suzhou, and then attended the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1981. In 1987 he went to study in the United States and later graduated from the New York Youth Art Students League. He returned to China in 1999, and is now living in Beijing. He is a First-class National Artist and a member of the Chinese Artists’ Association. He is currently the vice president of the Guoyunwenhua Institute of Calligraphy and Painting under the Ministry of Culture of China, and the vice president of the Haihuagui Institute of Painting, a researcher of Wu Guanzhong Art Research Center of Tsinghua University, a fellow of Li Keran Art Academy, and a senior adviser of Luxury Goods Research Center of University of International Business and Economics.
He has pioneered a new style of Chinese ink painting of water towns, and has creatively presented the rich flavor of the water towns of southern China, forming a distinctive and unique personal style, winning the high and wide acclaim of the arts community both at home and abroad, and his impact has been huge. Since the 1980s, he has held over 40 solo exhibitions at home and abroad in Asia, America, Europe etc., and has published over 40 kinds of picture albums and anthologies. His works have been selected many times for national art exhibitions and international exhibitions.
In 1982 his works “Southern China Fishing Village” and “Fragrant Gardenia” were selected for the first exhibition of Chinese works at the French Spring Salon Art Exhibition, and his ink painting “West Lake in Hang Zhou” created in 1989 was selected to be printed as a special stamp to be issued at the 10th World Post Expo in Washington and in Hangzhou, China. Yang Mingyi has been honoured with the following awards: “The Gold Medal at the Sino-Japanese Painting and Calligraphy Exchange Exhibition”, “The Silver Medal at the 20th Century Asia-Pacific Art Exhibition”, and “Award of World Chinese Art”, and in 2000 he won a “20th Century Artistic Contribution Award Medal” awarded by the U.S. Asia-Pacific Center for the Arts, and “the 5th Global Chinese Culture and Arts Heritage Award”. For his creation of the “Festival in Water Town” in 1978, in which he discovered Zhouzhuang and presented it to the world, he was applauded by the critics as “the first discoverer of Zhouzhuang”, and has obtained the title of Honorary Citizen of Zhouzhuang. His works have been collected by Chinese and foreign art galleries and academies of fine arts such as The National Art Museum of China, The National Museum of China, The Great Hall of the People, Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum, Suzhou Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The British Museum in London, and many private collectors and social celebrities including the former U.S. President George Bush and his wife. On April 15, 2006, at the opening ceremony of the Paris Chinese Art Week held at the Rambouillet Museum of France, Yang Mingyi, on behalf of the Chinese Artists delegation, presented his works on Southern China water towns to the Mayor of Rambouillet, Paris. In 2008, his work “Snowy Night in Suzhou” was selected for The International Art Salon Exhibition at The Louvre, in Paris, and won a special independent artist award after strict selection by the French Artists Association. He then donated this painting to the Museum of Suzhou, which is his hometown, for permanent collection. In 2010, he was selected as one of the Ten Persons of the Year at the summit of art of Chinese painting.
Since 1988, his works have appeared at auctions at world-renowned international auction houses such as, Christie’s in New York and Sotheby’s International auction house. He became one of the few painters who first entered internationally renowned auction houses, and his works were later introduced into Chinese auction houses such as Guardian, Poly, Rongbao, Huachen, Hanhai, Sungari, etc., and have achieved excellent auction results.
He has published a number of writings and picture albums, including “The Artistic World of Yang Mingyi”, “Suzhou Fishermen’s Song”, “Painted Fans by Yang Mingyi”, “Four Seasons”, “Dreams of Hometown”, “Portfolio of Yang Mingyi’s Sketches", “Ink Paintings on Water Towns”, “Color Edition of Sketches at Jinrilou”, “Trip with Ink Painting”, “Water Towns”, “Yang Mingyi Painting about Water Towns”, “Poetic Southern China”, “Southern China Out of Print”, “100 Bridges In Southern China,” “Yang Mingyi’s Calligraphic Works”, “Yang Mingyi Paintings about Zhouzhuang”, “Yiemao - Yang Mingyi’s Calligraphy”.
Always Satisfied, Always Happy 知足長樂, 2016
Asking The Way In The Early Morning 問征夫以前路，恨晨光熹微, 2013
Blue Sky 碧雲天, 2013
Cool Autumn 天涼好個秋, 2013
Don't Sacrifce A Moments Pleasure Only For Money, 2013
Fragrance 芬芳, 2013
Friendship Without Encounter 神交, 2013
Golden Years 風華正茂, 2013
Good Dream 一夜夢中香, 2010
Good Heart, Good Returns II 好人好報, 2013
Good Rain 好雨, 2013
Happy Days 佳期如夢, 2013
Hard Work Leads To Success II 業勤, 2016
Harmony of Bamboo 平安竹, 2016
Hometown Is Where The Heart Settles 此心安處是吾鄉, 2016
Hundred Times Long Life II 百壽, 2016
Hundred Times Long Life 百壽, 2016
I know you best 世上知儂有幾人, 2012
Inheritance 傳世, 2013
It's Never Too Late 相見不恨晚 , 2013
Lotus Leaves In The Gentle Breeze, 2013
Love You Most II 最愛是君, 2013
Memory Of A Beauty, 2013
Moonlight And Flowers, 2013
Morning Dew , 2010
Morning Mist, 2013
My Best Love, 2013
Natural Beauty, 2013
Near But Far 在你遙遠的附近, 2013
One Of A Hundred 百里挑一, 2012
Overwhelming Charm 傾國傾城 , 2016
Peaceful World, 2013
Quality Craftmanship 天工巧思, 2013
Returning Home In The Spring Snow, 2013
Returning In The Rain 巫山行雨歸, 2010
Scent Of A Woman 氣若幽蘭, 2016
Soaring To A Bright Future 鴻飞, 2016
Spring Is Back, 2012
Spring Rain 春雨足, 2013
Stones 磊, 2013
Strong and Beautiful, 2013
The Tears I Shed Yesterday Have Become Rain 昨日淚 今日雨, 2013
Too Much Love Tires Your Lover 情多累美人, 2016
It’s Never Too Late
Ming Yi began his lasting bonds with calligraphy in childhood, but collating works for exhibitions only began after 2000. He said quite literally: “I have no regrets about not engaging with calligraphy sooner”.
In the 1980’s, Ming Yi painted Southern Chinese sceneries in a light style, blowing a breath of fresh air into the art of Chinese painting which had been stagnant for a long time. Today, seeing his calligraphy works, which have such a unique style, it is like another breath of fresh air, and I marvel at the fact that he has broken into the even stuffier world of calligraphy.
Ming Yi’s calligraphic works of are rarely lengthy; just a few words make up an entire piece. His focus is on the construction. The ink is sometimes thick and sometimes light, and the lines run in a certain rule of density. The thick lines of deep color make people’ heart flutter; and ending lines left blank leave much room for reverie. The close observer may ruminate and ponder about the implications between the lines. Even people who do not understand Chinese characters, may feel the rhythm between the black and white, the dots and lines, appreciating them as abstract art full of oriental charm.
The composition is undoubtedly an important part of Ming Yi’s calligraphy. However, calligraphy is ultimately about writing. Chinese characters themselves are full of pictographic beauty, rich in meanings, and expressive of emotions. Ming Yi’s calligraphy is derived from the Xiaozhuan and Li Shu styles, and is both standard and freestyle; taking his inspiration from various monuments and ancient text books. He finds beauty in the structure of the characters, and by analyzing them and emphasizing certain parts or altering them slightly he conveys the meaning of the words through their rhythm, through controlling the flow of water and applying different shades of ink.
Ming Yi’s rich accomplishments in traditional Chinese culture give great cultural interest to the themes of his calligraphic works. A single word is a piece of art, two words can fully express rich emotions. Sometimes he playfully takes just a line from a poem to offer advice, or to give us inspiration. Ming Yi’s calligraphy works, with their beautiful characters and rich meanings, give people much aspiration in their appreciation.
“Having no regrets about not meeting sooner”, is an expression of Ming Yi’s fate with calligraphy. Meeting for lovers is never too late. And this is also our feeling about all things beautiful.
Fong Yuk Yan