Wang Dongling is a prominent modernist Chinese calligrapher, whose work embraces traditional calligraphy and highly experimental methods in ink practices. Wang has been enormously influential on the development of contemporary calligraphy and the experimental ink movement in the nineties. Wang places emphasis on the act of writing as an expression of the relationship between art and the body. In many of his monumental works, his powerful brushwork is executed with a mop-size brush and engages his entire body, the artist’s physical engagement with the work and the interaction of ink and the ground (where the rice paper is placed) defines new possibilities in calligraphic practice. As Xu Jiang, President of China Academy of Art puts it, “Wang Dongling’s monumental writing offers a classic example. The meaningful world that he creates has no borders. In a state of wander and absorption, the artist and the universe, the traditional and modern come together to form a creative force.”
Born in Jiangsu Province, China in 1945, Wang was admitted to Nanjing Normal University to study calligraphy at the age of 17, but classes were called a halt by the Cultural Revolution. Wang survived the turmoil by writing big-character posters, and subsequently graduated from Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) in Hangzhou in 1981. Wang is now professor at China Academy of Art and Director of Contemporary Calligraphy Research Centre at the university. Wang has exhibited around the world, notably at Louisiana Art Museum in Copenhagen (2007), Art Academy of Roma in Rome (2009), Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium (2010), Zhejiang Museum of Art in Hangzhou (2011), Chambers Fine Art in Beijing (2013), Hanart TZ Gallery in Hong Kong (2013), and Hong Kong Museum of Art (2013). His works are collected by some of the important public and private institutions, including the British Museum in London, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Guggenheim Museum in New York, The Palace Museum in Beijing and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing.