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Liu Yi’s panorama exhibition opens at NAMOC

Chinese calligrapher Liu Yi has opened his exhibition at the National Art Museum of China.

The exhibition features over 140 of his works in a wide array of calligraphy styles, spanning the past thirty years.

At China’s top art venue, Liu’s works spraw across five rooms. They’re created in almost all the styles of Chinese calligraphy.

The artist named his exhibition “Divine Autumn Water.”

“The idea comes from Su Shi’s poem “autumn water is as immaculate as divinity”. The autumn water is stainless, crystal clear and looks attractive, which is the goal I want to achieve with my calligraphy creations,” he said.

Another key word of the exhibition is venation.

“Calligraphy” in Chinese is “shufa”, literally, the way of writing. And in the long course of Chinese history, widely recognized “ways of writing” have evolved from time to time, for example the seal-like script, regular script, cursive script and running script. And Liu wouldn’t leave a single style out of his exhibition.

“The works on display are collected over the past three decades. Whenever a friend comes to me and asks for a work of mine, I usually write a couple of versions and give them the best one. So as time goes on, I have hundreds of works in different themes and styles. It’s an unintentional but a wide collection,” said Liu

The panorama of calligraphy offers plenty for anyone looking for inspiration.

“I’ve been learning calligraphy for over seven years. So I want to take the opportunity while I’m in Beijing to see how the masters write,” a visitor said.

“I don’t understand some characters, but am aware of the different styles of different periods, how the brush moves from one part to the other of the character. It’s very full of art,” another said.

Liu Yi, now 84, is one of the most renowned calligraphers in the country, and formally vice president of the Chinese Calligrapher Association.

The calligrapher, sporting silver hair, has been practicing for over seven decades. Patient and meticulous, he says it took him a whole night to create the piece behind him, “Eight Poems of Du Fu.”

“I usually write at night, when it’s quiet and with no interruption. This one is hard to write, as you have to arrange all the characters smoothly and accurately on the eight pieces of paper, without any one jamming into another in any space, not at the beginning, not at the end,” said Liu.

“Also, you have to leave enough space for signing off. It has to be done without a break in the middle, otherwise the spirit stops flowing and disconnects. I started this one at 10 pm and finished at six in the morning.”

The exhibition runs to mid April, and is free to visit.