Wei Ligang, whose traditional moniker is ‘Owner of Er’yu Hall’, was born in Datong City in Shanxi Province. Although he entered the mathematics department of Nankai University in 1981, he pursued a budding interest in calligraphy, seal cutting and painting in his free time and began his studies of calligraphy under the renowned Li Henian in the same year. He is now living and working as a free artist in Beijing and is considered one of the most important figures in promoting contemporary Chinese calligraphy.
Since the mid-1980s, Wei has been studying and creating modern calligraphy. During this time he has attempted to develop a systematic revolution within the field of calligraphy in order to explore a new possibility of ink brush creation.
Wei’s works can be classified into three sets. The first set takes the style of modern calligraphy with a freehand foundation and adapts traditional rules inside calligraphy creation. This style mixes conventional strokes with painting ideas, whilst at the same time inheriting the spirit of the modern Japanese calligraphic school, in trying to delineate the border between abstract and concrete. The second set utilizes experimental ink applied in the abstract form, mixed with new materials like lacquer and propylene, with the aim to build a bridge between Chinese and Western paintings. The third he himself calls Wei’s Works as they are the overall result of his exploration into Chinese characters.
Generally speaking, although his works display some characteristics of Western modern art forms and ideas, their most vital features are again threefold: their unreserved focus on Chinese characters, the structure of the characters and the significance placed on the strokes themselves as opposed to the representative aspect of the picture. In all his works we can sense these features, consciously or otherwise.