21st Century Calligraphy: Selections from the Nanshun Shanfang Collection

21st Century Calligraphy: Selections from the Nanshun Shanfang Collection


Opening Day10 January 2017, Tuesday
Guest of HonourHsieh Fu Hua, Chairman, National Gallery Singapore
Period11 January - 12 March 2017
Location 51 Waterloo,

In conjunction with Singapore Art Week 2017, The Private Museum is proud to present 21st Century Calligraphy: Selections from the Nanshun Shanfang Collection. The exhibition features 19 Chinese calligraphy works from 5 established Chinese calligraphers such as Wang Dongling, Sun Xiaoyun, Wang Tiande, Wei Ligang, and Guan Jun.

Wang Dongling’s artworks illuminate the essence of gestural abstraction through his bold experimentations of embodied action and performance in Chinese calligraphy. Wang Tiande’s artistic practice explores the ambivalent relation between contemporaneity and the traditional. Wei Ligang’s background in mathematics contributes to his unique approach of the deconstruction and re-construction of Chinese characters in his artworks. Sun Xiaoyun’s emphasis on her brushstrokes and aesthetics, along with Guan Jun’s neoclassical style, portray distinctive interpretations of historical transcripts by renowned Chinese poets such as Du Fu and Su Dong Po.

Viewers will gain the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the wide array of calligraphy styles-reflective of their various artistic development and practices in breaking the conventional approach of Chinese calligraphy-displayed through this collection.

Programme Documentation

Programme Media

About the Collaboration


Wang Dongling (b.1945)

Born in Jiangsu Province, China, Wang is highly regarded as the most prolific, modern Chinese calligrapher of his generation. He plays a key figure in the ’90s experimental ink movement which saw the significant rise of gestural markings over content in Chinese calligraphy. Graduated in 1966, and subsequently in year 1981 from Nanjing Normal University in arts, after which he pursued a Masters Degree from China Academy of Art. Wang has also achieved the largest piece (4.95m in height and 37.5m in width) of his calligraphy piece at the stadium of China Academy of Art in 2007. Wang is internationally recognised for his impressive performances which focus on the act of writing as an expression of the relationship between art and the body. He experiments with his use of brush, and the movements of his fingertips, wrists, arms, and his entire body. His recent works are exhibited at Brooklyn Museum, Gus Fisher Gallery, and Art Museum of China Academy of Art.

Sun Xiaoyun (b.1955)

Born in Nanjing, Jiangsu, Sun is presently the vice-chair of Jiangsu Calligrapher Association. She is also a professor at the Calligraphy Research Institute of China and the Calligraphy Training Centre of China. In 2006, she was appointed as the vice-director of the Jiangsu Provincial Art Museum. Sun’s calligraphy practice is an integration of ancient calligraphy style and modern aesthetic concept. A National First-grade Artist, she received Specialist Allowance from the State Council of China. In 2012, she was awarded the honorary title of Top 10 Chinese Cultural Figure.

Wang Tiande (b.1960)

Born in Shanghai, China, a prominent figure in the development of modern calligraphy, Wang graduated from the Chinese Paintings Department of China Academy of Art in 1988 and obtained his doctorate degree from the Calligraphy Department later on. At present, he is a professor of art at Fudan University in Shanghai. His works are in the collections of both East and West Institutions such as the National Art Museum of China, Shanghai Art Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the British Museum, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, UC Berkeley Art Museum, as well as many other major private collections around the world.

Guan Jun (b.1964)

Born in Jiangsu Binhai County, China, Guan graduated from Nanjing Arts Institute China in professional painting. Now the president of Chinese Calligraphy Institute at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, he is regarded as a National First-grade artist. Along with other prominent Chinese artists, he was awarded the honorary title of Top 10 Chinese Cultural Figure in 2012. His works had been exhibited in the fifth, sixth, and seventh sessions of National Calligraphy Exhibition. His most recent works of calligraphy were exhibited at the National Art Museum of China in 2016. 

Wei Ligang (b.1964)

Born in Datong, Shanxi Province, China, Wei is widely known as a maverick among China’s contemporary abstract calligraphers. He graduated from Nankai University, Tianjin, with a major in mathematics in 1985 before studying the Fushan style cursive calligraphy four years later. After settling in Beijing and furthering his education in the United States of America, he is now the vice president of the Modern Calligraphy Art Association of China and Member of the Beijing Art Committee of China Democratic League. His works have been collected in major museums internationally, which include the Museum of Modern Art San Francisco, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, British Museum, National Art Museum of China, and Today Art Museum.

Programme Outreach

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Wang Dongling will discuss his experiences and journey on how he has developed a personal characteristic in his body of calligraphy pieces overseas and in China. This is an opportunity to meet the artist in person and understand more about his calligraphy practice. There will be a live calligraphy demonstration by Wang Dongling during the artist talk.

Programme Publication