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- No.181, Sec. 3, Zhongshan N. Rd., Zhongshan Dist., Taipei City Taiwan, R.O.C
Born in Shanghai in 1942, Tong Yang-Tze practiced calligraphy from an early age, beginning by imitating the classical standard script of Yan Zhen-Qing, as well as the Wei Dynasty Stele. She later studied the traditional running and cursive scripts of such masters as Su Dong-Po and Huang Ting-Jian. As a student in the 1960s and 1970s, she learned to use a variety of Western media, and her brush-and-ink texts gradually assimilated compositional elements from Western modern art, achieving an aesthetic that blended visual art and calligraphy. With vigorous, forceful and unrestrained brushwork, she creates characters with a structure and arrangement all her own, evolving a unique style of writing and interpretation that stands as a new form of “textual art.”
This retrospective exhibition presents around 94 pieces by Tong Yang-Tze from different stages in her career, including selected Western-style paintings and calligraphy from the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s she studied, explored and expanded the composition, structure and dimensions of traditional calligraphy. From 1990 to around 2000 her texts took on a high degree of expressiveness, melding the characteristics of calligraphy and painting, and integrating the meaning of the words with the forms of the lines of ink in an increasingly refined manner. Since the late 1990s Tong has produced several series of grand-scale texts, pushing the limits of her own physical strength in the use of the brush to create a magnificent forcefulness that is visually impactful and challenges the conventional way calligraphy is viewed. Tong Yang-Tze actively works to blend calligraphic aesthetics into contemporary life and visual art. For decades inscriptions of her Chinese characters have been prominently displayed by such institutions as the Taipei Main Station, Cloud Gate Theater, and Kingstone Bookstore, among others. In recent years she has also actively joined in interdisciplinary collaborations, affording contemporary society a view of her diverse practices that transcend traditional calligraphy.