Bo Yun

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Artist Statement

“I want to express in my panting the philosophies of Lao Zi, the great Chinese scholar, of forgetting oneself or combining the self and the natural world into one.” - Bo Yun


About the Artist

Bo Yun (Li Yongcun) is a Chinese artist who, while respecting the ancient heritage of Chinese ink painting, has succeeded in integrating new ideas and techniques that make his work seem very contemporary. He works in a variety of media - ink and colour on paper, oil on canvas, and lacquer on wood – and often in diptych or triptych format. His vertical ink and colour diptychs, like ancient Chinese scrolls, are microcosms of the universe, encompassing sky, earth and water. However, Bo Yun’s free and fluid style of painting also shows the influence of Western Abstract Expressionism. His free brushwork creates a sense of dramatic energy in his abstract paintings in oil on canvas, which express a joy in nature and particularly in the spiritual essence of the landscape.

Born in China in 1948, Li Yongcun graduated in Art History from the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing in 1980. He had entered the middle school attached to the Academy in the 1960s, when students were only allowed to paint in a realistic style that reflected a strong Soviet influence. During the Cultural Revolution, as the Gang of Four attempted to eradicate all previous forms of art, claiming they were counter-revolutionary, Li was sent to do hard labour on a farm for four years. Back in Beijing in 1979, he joined a group of young artists known as the “Stars”, who made history by hanging their politically incorrect paintings and sculptures on the railings outside the China Art Gallery, where they were not allowed to exhibit. This act of defiance, the first unauthorized exhibition of Chinese art since 1949, provided an outlet for Chinese artists seeking to express themselves freely and set the stage for an era of liberation for future artists. During this first Stars exhibition, Li used the pseudonym Bo Yun to conceal his identity from the police and he has kept it ever since. Many of the Stars subsequently left China, but Bo Yun stayed in Beijing, where he is now a professor at Tsinghua University.

Bo Yun was not a militant dissident, merely an active advocator of greater artistic freedom, and his independent, expressive nature continues to be evident in his work. Semi-abstract compositions of landscapes at dawn or dusk have a tranquil, dreamlike serenity as well as a shade of pathos. Bo Yun left his native village at an early age to go to boarding school and he grew accustomed to loneliness; to this day he relishes solitude and loves to travel alone amidst nature in search of inspiration for his paintings. In his ink paintings, one can faintly see rivers, fields, woods and rolling hills. His triptychs in oil on canvas have an expansive feel, emphasizing the vastness of the land and sky. In all his paintings, Bo Yun aims to create a sense of balance.


Exhibits & Shows

Solo Exhibitions

Year

Gallery

Location

2008

  World Economic Forum

Tianjin

2007

  World Economic Forum

Dalian

2007

XYZ Gallery

Beijing

2006

Creation Gallery

Beijing

2005

  World Forum

Switzerland

2005

Zee stone Gallery

Hong Kong

2003

Zee stone Gallery

Hong Kong

2000

Creation Gallery

Beijing

 

Group Exhibitions

Year

Gallery

Location

1999

China Art Museum

Beijing

1989

"Star 10 years"
Hanart Gallery

Hong Kong Taibei

1988

Kintetsu Gallery

Osaka Japan

1982

Modern Art Museum

Beijing

1980

Star exhibition II

Beijing

1979

Star exhibition I

Beijing


Contact

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