魏立刚 WEI Ligang

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

在近三十年的艺术探索中,魏立刚一直在打造一种基于汉字线条和空间结构的普世抽象语言。这种语言可以容纳人类当代知识和存在的复杂性和宽广性。他的“魏氏魔块”对汉字进行解构又融入图像元素,回溯象形文字本源,为中国当代艺术中最早的个人视觉语言之一。他把明末清初山西书法家傅山(1607-1684)的连绵术融入篆、隶、甲骨文等金石文字,构造出金石连绵草、叠影草书、金墨大草等丰富的艺术形式。此外,魏立刚亦有各种饱含书法意味的绘画作品。

魏立刚的艺术表达是理性与感知,精致与飘渺以及异域、寻常与自然之间的独特结合。他从古埃及文字、工业文明、欧洲城堡和皇宫、当代物理学和天文学、动植物结构中寻找灵感,并融入各种奇幻的想象之物。他喜用金、红、蓝等华丽色彩,并用丙烯颜料制造出肌理的厚重感,有异于黑白色调、清逸和流畅的传统书法。

魏立刚1964年出生于山西大同,在这座毗邻云冈石窟的北魏(386-534)古都成长的经历,逐渐形成了他对汉唐雄浑美学的钟爱。他父亲为一位善于工艺的铁路工人,启发了魏立刚早年对机械和书法的兴趣。魏立刚17岁考入南开大学数学专业,训练了他的逻辑推理和分析归纳思维。他大学期间出任南开书苑主席,结识天津书法名家李鹤年(1912-2000)、王学仲(1925-2013)及孙伯翔(1934-),由此浸润了古代诗词、金石篆隶等文人修养。王学仲是中国现代书法最早的倡导者之一,对其影响尤深。

1985年大学毕业后,魏立刚赴太原师范大学任教,钻研傅山的艺术。1995年,他迁居至北京圆明园,做职业艺术家,并更多接触到抽象绘画和国际当代艺术。90年代魏立刚成为现代书法的年轻先驱者,积极参与和策划多个具有影响力的现代书法展览,包括“巴蜀点兵——′99成都20世纪末中国现代书法回顾展”。魏立刚深信中国书法将在这一代迎来前所未有的高峰。他热衷书法教育,创办了国际书象学社,致力把“书写”拓展为一种对应宇宙万物、建构“结构本身”的艺术形式。

魏立刚2005年获得亚洲文化协会李国威医生艺术奖助金,其作品已被三藩市亚洲美术博物馆、伦敦大英博物馆、巴黎塞努奇博物馆、西雅图盖茨基金会、北京中国国家博物馆、北京中国美术馆、法国弗朗索瓦-亨利·皮诺家族收藏、三藩市现代艺术博物馆等中外艺术机构收藏。

 

In his career of three decades, Wei Ligang (b. 1964) has sought a universal language of abstraction based on the linear and spatial compositions of Chinese writing, a language capable of embodying the complexity and expansiveness of contemporary human knowledge and existence. His signature “magic squares,” which preserve the structure and strokes of Chinese characters and hark back to the pictographic origins of Chinese writing, are one of the earliest examples of a distinctly personal language in contemporary Chinese art. Wei Ligang generalizes the continuous cursive calligraphy of the 17th-century Shanxi calligrapher Fu Shan, applying it to the seal, clerical, and Oracle Bone scripts of antiquity to create the distinctive script styles of epigraphic mad cursive, “gold-ink cursive,” and “shadow cursive.” Wei Ligang is also the author of a celebrated body of calligraphy-informed abstract paintings.

Wei Ligang’s art is a unique fusion of systematic thought and sensibility, delicacy and spirituality, exoticism and naturalness. His wide-ranging inspirations include ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, industrial civilization and modern machines, European castles and palaces, contemporary physics and astronomy, and the structures of animals and plants. He employs the bright colors of gold, red, and blue, and uses acrylic paints to increase substance and texture. In these respects his art differs from traditional Chinese calligraphy, which typically is monochrome and privileges fluency.

Wei Ligang was born in Datong, the first capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534) and home to the famous Buddhist grotto shrines of Yungang, which instilled in him a fondness for the grandeur of Han and Tang-dynasty art. Wei’s father, an art-loving railroad worker, inspired his interest in mechanics and calligraphy. At age 17, Wei entered the mathematics department of Nankai University, where he honed his logical and analytical skills. As President of the university calligraphy society, he came under the mentorship of the local masters Li Henian (1912-2000), Wang Xuezhong (1925-2013), and Sun Boxiang (1934-) in classical poetry and epigraphic scripts. Wang Xuezhong, an early pioneer of Modern Calligraphy, was especially influential to Wei.

After graduating from Nankai in 1985, Wei Ligang became a teacher at a normal school in Taiyuan and immersed himself in the legacy of Fu Shan, a fellow Shanxi native. In 1995, he relocated to the Old Summer Palace in Beijing as a professional artist, and thereafter increasingly engaged with abstract painting and international contemporary art. Over the 90’s, Wei gained prominence as a young pioneer of Modern Calligraphy, participating and organizing a number of influential exhibitions in the field, including Bashu Parade: A Review of China Modern Calligraphy At The End of 20th Century in 1999 in Chengdu. A committed educator and the founder of the International Shuxiang Society, he believes that Chinese calligraphy will reach an unprecedented height within this generation. He aims to develop “writing” (shuxie) into an art form capable of embodying all phenomena and things in the universe and a way to construct “pure structure itself.”

Wei Ligang was the recipient of the 2005 Asian Cultural Council Dr. Joseph K. W. Li Arts Fellowship. His works are in the collections of the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; British Museum; Cernuschi Museum, Paris; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle; National Museum of China, Beijing; National Art Museum of China, Beijing; François-Henri Pinault Family, France; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; among others.

魏立刚:万物

Wei Ligang: Universality, WEI Ligang

冬影鸾鉴-魏立刚个展

♛ Songs of the Phoenix Mirror, WEI Ligang