Jan. 27 lecture to compare art of YY Ting and Bada Shanren

One-stroke painting by Y Y Ting titled ‘Frog and Lotus.’ Image provided by Gianguan Auctions

NEW YORK –  The Renwen Society of China Institute will host a lecture on “The Art of Y Y Ting & Bada Shanren” at Gianguan Auctions’ Manhattan gallery on Sunday, January 27. The speaker is Kwong Lum, a disciple of Y Y Ting.

The exhibit, “The Art of Y Y Ting & Bada Shanren” runs from January 24 through February 7. It offers a rare comparison of the work of the two artists, who lived 500 years apart.

A native of Maoming, Guangdong Province, Y Y Ting (né Ding Yanyong) was sent, at the age of 18, to study Western painting in Japan. The experience opened his eyes not only to technique but also to the passion of Japanese artists who abandoned opportunities in Europe to revitalize their cultural heritage. Ten years later, Y Y Ting saw how the splash ink freehand of Ming artist Bada Shanren reflected Lao Tzu’s philosophy of open mindedness. Ting then advanced the concept despite a backlash of public opinion.

Bada Shanren’s life as an artist was altered when he broke from Ming formalism to explore a more naturalistic splash ink approach that had originated with a predecessor named Xu Wei.  Incurring the ire of Emperor Jiajing (1522-1566), he was reduced to poverty, a state so dismal that fellow artists were reluctant to experiment lest they, too, lose everything. That was further complicated by the Manchurian invasion that established the Qing Dynasty. To save himself, Bada Shanren became a monk. In the monastery he was free to pursue his artistic journey.

16th-century naturalist painting of geese landing by Bada Shanren, painter, monk, father of modern Chinese painting. Image provided by Gianguan Auctions

Using long tipped lamb’s-wool brushes, Bada Shanren was able to wrap strength in softness and create a certain elasticity that allowed the natural changes in ink color to show through. This simplistic approach also allowed a flower be just a flower, a bird just a bird, and so on.

Bada Shanren’s personal courage and faith ushered in a new era of Chinese art and established him as the founder of modern Chinese painting.

The lecture, sponsored the China Institute Renwen Society, will be conducted  in English and Chinese. Gianguan Auctions is located at 39 W. 56th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue, New York, NY 10019.  For details in Chinese about the lecture, please visit http://chineselectures.org/012719.html.

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