CAA Professor Wang Dongling Exhibition "Ink. Space. Time." inspired by Prof. Stephen Hawking Opens at the University of Cambridge

PR Newswire
Saturday, May 27, 2023 at 2:21am UTC

CAA Professor Wang Dongling Exhibition "Ink. Space. Time." inspired by Prof. Stephen Hawking Opens at the University of Cambridge

PR Newswire

LONDON, May 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The exhibition Ink. Space. Time. by Wang Dongling, a world-renowned calligrapher and professor at the China Academy of Art, is held at the University of Cambridge from May 25th to August 27th. The exhibition presents the artist's monumental contemporary Chinese calligraphy work inspired by Prof. Stephen Hawking.

Wang Dongling is widely recognised as one of the greatest living practitioners of Chinese calligraphy. His work has been included in several public collections, including those of the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).

For over two millennia, calligraphy has been considered one of the Scholar's Four Arts, or siyi in Chinese, that form the essential learning of the Chinese literati. Wang is a classically trained master calligrapher who, over a 60-year career coinciding with the development of contemporary art in China, has revitalised calligraphy for contemporary audiences.

The artworks presented are written in Wang's radical new script style, luanshu, often translated as "chaos script" or "entangled writing". Luanshu places greater importance on the gestural and sensual qualities during writing than on legibility. The free and dynamic curves and lines of Wang's luanshu are grounded in, yet unencumbered by, traditional systems of expression.

For Ink. Space. Time., Wang has drawn upon the Daodejing by the legendary Daoist philosopher Laozi, and the writings of the Cambridge theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, both of which deal with the nature of the universe, space, and time. Under the hand of Wang Dongling, the texts are rendered incomprehensible, and, thereby, transcend their original meanings. Embodied in the lines, however, is a deep awareness of the cosmic and transformative power of words. His artworks represent pioneering intellectual enquiry across time and the enduring influence of ideas.

Gao Shiming, President of the China Academy of Art mentioned that Wang's luanshu could be considered a Chinese echo of Balzac's metaphor. In his work, we perceive signs of the dialectic between order and chaos, boundlessness and impermanence, multi-polarity and apolarity. The way of luanshu seems to respond to the primordial chaos of the Big Bang presented in the writings of Stephen Hawking.

In the preface to the exhibition Ink. Space. Time, Lucy Hawking, Prof. Stephen Hawking's daughter mentioned that it is an inspired choice that Wang pairs her father's words with the writings of Laozi. Both of them reached far beyond the boundaries of their terrestrial existences to commune with the immense expanses of the universe. Wang has thoughtfully illustrated a beautiful connection between these two historic figures.

Except for the luanshu he created, the Chinese artist also showcased the handwriting process of literary work related to Cambridge using acrylic paint. Meanwhile, Wang gave a lecture on contemporary calligraphy art and presided over a workshop on calligraphy writing in Cambridge.

As Wang himself puts it, "I want to take this opportunity to promote the exchanges between China and the United Kingdom using the universal language of art."


Wang Dongling (b. 1945, Rudong, Jiangsu Province, China) is director of the Modern Calligraphy Research Centre at the China Academy of Art, Hangzhou,China. Since the 1980s, Wang Dongling has been at the vanguard of reimagining the ancient artform of Chinese calligraphy for contemporary times. His work is in several public collections, including The British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).

Wang Dongling has also worked with Apple™ in 2015 to create a mural for their store in West Lake, Hangzhou, and with designer Junya Watanabe for his 2021 collection for fashion house Comme des Garçons.

About The Heong Gallery

The Heong Gallery is a public gallery for Modern and Contemporary Art opened at Downing College in the University of Cambridge in 2016. Named after alumnus and benefactor Dr Alwyn Heong, and inaugurated by Sir Alan Bowness, the Gallery was designed by Caruso St John Architects, winners of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2016. The Gallery won a RIBA East Award in 2017. It is free to visit and a fixture on the cultural map of Cambridge and the East.

Exhibition Venue: Downing College, Cambridge CB2 1DQ
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SOURCE China Academy of Art