CHEUNG YEE (ZHANG YI)
B. China, 1936
Writing, Edition 44/50
Signed Cheung Yee and dated 1983 (lr), numbered 44/50 (ll), inscribed as titled (lc)
85 x 59 cm
Provenance Private Collection, Singapore
RM 12,000 – RM 20,000
Born in 1936 in Guangzhou, China, Cheung Yee thrived as a painter and sculptor with his incredible skill of producing works which encapsulate the olden times. He is wellknown for being the pioneer of incorporating Chinese elements in western art forms. Not only is he a notable artist whose eminent artworks are extraordinarily distinct, he is also very highly respected as he has mentored many of Hong Kong’s aspiring artists, having been the professor of fine art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. CHEUNG YEE’S ACADEMIC BACKGROUND Cheung graduated from the Fine Art Department of National Taiwan Normal University in 1958. He was a founding member of the Hong Kong Artists’ Guild in 1987 and later founded the Circle Group with other local artists such as Hon Chi Fun and Wucius Wong in 1963. The group was deemed as Hong Kong’s ‘local avantgarde’, creating abstract art pieces of unique concepts via a mixture of eastern and western mediums that embedded Chinese tradition. The group consists of more than nine members, some of whom have become very wellknown artists in the country. In the same year, Cheung exhibited at City Museum and Art Gallery in Hong Kong and later received a grant to the USA and Europe from the Institute of International Education the following year. Between 1968 and 1973, Cheung was a tutor at the Extramural Studies Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Hong Kong. Over the years, he also had various successes through exhibitions around the world including one at the Commonwealth Institute in London. In 1976, he became a part-time lecturer of the Department of Fine Art of the Chinese University of Hong Kong and senior lecturer at the Department of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic from 1978 to 1983. He then taught at the Department of Fine Art of the Chinese University of Hong Kong again in 1983 and then became the chairman of the Hong Kong Sculptors Association and also advisor to the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Today, he resides peacefully at his home in California and continues his passion for the arts. HIS ARTISTIC TRADEMARK Immediately from the get-go, it was apparent that Cheung’s works in both technique and style were mused by Chinese ancestral tradition. He fused an old lost craft of paper with his sculptural technique, etching out wooden moulds, each individually unique on its own. Despite his traditional style, hismasterpieces transcend time as they also exude a modern and contemporary feel, which is what makes his works so remarkable. What more with his signature 3-D mural sculptures of elaborative patterns and symbols that are often vibrant in monotonous colours of gold, red, blue and green. Cheung’s touch may seem simple but behind the simplicity are intricate carvings of archaic forms and cryptic symbols which illustrate various narratives. Be it an ancient Chinese poem, writings, story-telling figurines of legends, engraved fortune-telling tortoises or I-Ching hexagram patterns, these profound features set him apart from other artists, drawing the attention of art aficionados. ACHIEVEMENTS AND ACCOLADES As expected from a renowned artist, Cheung has an impressive artistic repertoire under his belt. As a pioneer of thecontemporary art movement in Hong Kong, it is no surprise that his artistic, innovative talent and contributions have also won him The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Member class (MBE) in 1979 conferred by the Queen of England. Throughout his career, he has exhibited his magnificent works in various exhibitions. To date, Cheung holds the record as the only living artist in the history of Hong Kong to have been specially invited to exhibit three solo exhibitions at the prestigious Hong Kong Museum of Art. He has had other exhibitions as well such as at the Sally Jackson Gallery in Hong Kong, The Luz Gallery in Manila, Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City, National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan Museum of Art, Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum. His masterpieces can be found in many private collections in other parts of the world such as Sweden, Switzerland, England, USA, Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, Greece, India, Spain, France and New Zealand.
Cheung’s touch may seem simple but behind the simplicity are intricate carvings of archaic forms and cryptic symbols which illustrates various narratives. Be it an ancient Chinese poem of a distant past, writings, story-telling figurines of legends, engraved fortune telling tortoises or I-Ching hexagram patterns, it is these profound features that sets him apart from other artists, drawing the attention of art aficionados. This too is seen in his Writing, Edition 44/50 art piece.
Born in 1936 in Guangzhou, China, Cheung Yee thrived as a painter and sculptor with his incredible skills of producing works which encapsulates the olden times. He is well-known for being the pioneer of incorporating Chinese elements in western art forms.