Wang Yueling’s theory on the art of calligraphy – Музей китайской каллиграфии и живописи
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Wang Yueling’s theory on the art of calligraphy

Kaifeng, the place where cultural movements were born, a city of rich cultural heritage, the capital of eight dynasties, a magical and magnificent place. Rich local customs and the mix of many cultures attract people here. As fertile soil gives birth to trees, the great city gives birth to many talented people. Wang Yueling who spent many years pursuing a military career also found himself nurtured by this place, he concentrated fully on the art of brush and ink, studied stone inscriptions, and thus achieved great success. After his return to Henan, his quick and peaceful brush allowed him to raise among calligraphers.

In the 1980’s Wang Yueling joined the army. In 1991 he worked in Kaifeng, where he immersed himself in Zhongyuan calligraphy community, absorbed the culture of the city, enjoyed the support and guidance of the great masters, he focused on studying calligraphy, and took to it like a duck to water. After mastering styles kaishu and lishu, he painstakingly studied cursive xingshu font, he chose the writings of the “Two Wangs” and Mi Fu as his main sources, adopting all the best from them, he achieved great mastery and transformed all this experience into his unique style of semi-cursive font, simple and natural, but also filled with deep meaning. It shows Wang Yueling as a calligrapher, his deep and precise understanding of the core features of calligraphy, and his ongoing pursuit of fresh vigorous aesthetics.

Peaceful and simple calligraphy image. Wang Yueling’s calligraphy is bold and unrestrained, he masterfully conveys the calm spirit of the gentle breeze. His calligraphy is serene and relaxed, in the midst of this calmness lies the scattered and blooming beauty. It is said that “even where his brush and ink hasn’t touched the paper, there is the spirit”, as well as “careful and deep thought, peaceful ambition, neither violent nor severe, and a free mind”. The emergence of such a peaceful style, from a creative point of view, cannot be separated from the calligrapher’s personal growth and his creative goals. The educated people in the old times were imbued with the spirit of Confucianism. Zhonghe, the harmonious and balanced state of the golden mean is the ideal pursued by Confucian philosophy. Zhonghe is the essence and the highest form of the art of calligraphy. Wang Yueling on his journey to achieve zhonghe followed in the footsteps of the great masters of dynasties Wei and Jin, and at the same time he appreciated more and more the poet’s words about a lonely haze in a desolate land and the sunset on the Yangtze River, its calmness and spaciousness comforted him greatly. The main aesthetic functions of calligraphy are to lift the mood and cultivate the character. People’s fascination and pursue of art is undoubtedly more the latter than the former. Considering the nature of calligraphy, the style and the aesthetics lie not only in the lines but also in the structure of the character. Today people think of composition in terms of image, in the old days, it was in terms of the spirit. As they say, “in calligraphy the most important is the spirit, then the form, he who masters both, follows the way of the ancients”. Indeed, the kindness and the fortitude imprinted deep in the very bones of the calligrapher. His artistic thought is undoubtedly striving for zhonghe, pursuing the balance and harmony of reason and emotion, discipline and freedom, artificial and natural, form and content. From an artistic point of view, his works show deep knowledge, great talent, and great skill. If you look closely at his new works, from the imagery point of view, they convey the balance of dark and light, bold and mild, hard and soft, all in the wonderful harmony of zhonghe. Calligraphy has old traditions, strict laws, magnificent beauty, and deep meaning. In the first stroke of a character there is concealing and revealing, in the movement of the brush there is rapid or delayed, the turns are angular or circular, the finishing of the stroke can be pointed or dull, the structure of a character, harmonious and concise style, light and dark shade of the ink, reading it makes your spirit travel to a realm where a willow is blowing in the wind, and fresh flowers reflect the sunshine.

Expressive movement in calligraphy. Wang Yueling’s calligraphy is vigorous, its outstanding movement shows a deep understanding of nature and vigor as one of a sudden thunderclap. In his works the movement of the brushstrokes is like a bird coming down from the sky, the line variation is like that of a water stream, as a withered pine tree on a mountain ridge, as a huge rock resting on the bank of a canal. As everyone knows, in traditional Chinese calligraphy, movement is greatly valued, and this is a common feature for all the traditional arts. Speaking of calligraphy, the two most important elements of this art are silent observation and lively rapid movement. Inkwork and linework truly convey the essence of the calligrapher’s thought, his will of life, at the same time they reflect the spirit of the era, calligraphy is the quintessence of the cultural heritage and the freshness of nature, Wang Yueling transformed it into the art that nurtures the soul and cultivates the character. The personality, the nature, and the manners of the artist are all revealed in the ink and line art, naturally as the wind in the valley, as the spring rainbow filling mountain springs, as waterfall streams in mid-air, as goldfish chasing the wave. These powerful feelings deeply touch the soul of an aesthetic person, the style of the calligrapher is free-flowing, smooth, and

bright, as if it were revealing the natural flow of life, and appreciating its intention, as the sudden realization of the exquisite beauty of the lines “My mind is like the autumn moon, in the green pool pure and shining clean”, “The monkey is white as snow, the birds sing pleasantly as the sounds of guqin”.

The spirit of perseverance. Wang Yueling is skillful at pursuing the beauty of nature, in his work he strives to fill each stroke with the natural beauty. In more than 30 years of his military career, he used his watchful eyes to gather observation, experience, and understanding. Wang Yueling believes that to create a calligraphy work you shouldn’t blindly accept all the traditional calligraphy rules, you should use your own emotional experience, that way the traditional art of calligraphy will gain new features in the new era. This requires the calligrapher to become the one with the world and to love it selflessly, only then could he pour his feelings and his talent freely in the black and white lines of the calligraphy art. Because of the artist’s deep reflection on calligraphy, his art has unique aesthetic composition. It was mostly during his ten years of work in the Political Department of Kaifeng Military District, that Wang Yueling humbly learned from the older generation of calligraphers. During his practice of the cursive script of the “Two Wangs”, he also carefully learned the regular “kaishu” script of stone tablets of the Wei dynasty, and started looking for the break-through from this new height. In the ten years that he worked in Kaifeng Military District, he spent all his spare time studying calligraphy and surely “took a deep breath” on his calligraphy journey. His inspiration came from the words of the poet “the sweat dripping into the ink bottle, blending into the ink, black silk hair falling on the paper and turning into characters, improve your work until the tip of your brush is steaming, rise through the hard work”. He has been grateful to the military practice and discipline that helped him to improve his life.

White clouds in the newly-clear sky, and birds flitting in the depths of trees, an outstanding talent has reached the level of a masterpiece. Wang Yueling with his remarkable skills has again and again started the exploration of the calligraphy world. He is an award-winning participant of more than 20 National Calligraphy exhibitions of all levels, his works are currently in the collections of various prestigious organisations including the Ministry of Culture. It can be described as: “Sailing through the endless sea of knowledge, success will come to those who have loyal hearts. Scholars in the Orchid Pavilion Gathering developed into outstanding talents!” ”