Yi Ling

Born in 1961 in Shanghai, Yi Ling is a surprising artist. He has never had any special training and his artistic journey has its origins in his passion for the arts. In 1983, having the desire to discover and to investigate different artforms, he went on a tour of China by bicycle. He made films and paintings in his search of "folk art". In 1990, he became an independent artist in Beijing. His compositions contain a writing that can be linked to his travel and to architecture, reminding of the work of a cartographer. But Yi Ling?s works don?t have just one meaning. The images he uses are concrete but have a blurry effect brought indirectly by his writing. Once we understand them, his paintings reveal women, teapots, erotic scenes, the Olympic Games, and a whole series of small details that delight our eyes and our soul.




Born in Shanghai

Selected Solo Exhibitions  


Galerie Dock Sud, Sète, France


Case of Yi Ling, Yizhuo Art Space, Beijing, China


Yi Ling Solo Exhibition, Emerald Hill Studio, Singapore

Yi Ling Solo Exhibition, Pen Pal Art Gallery, Guangzhou, China


Yi Ling Solo Exhibition, Swiss Embassy, Beijing, China


Tour Exhibitions in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Luxembourg Open-Air Exhibition, Maastricht International Airport, Netherlands

Selected Group Exhibitions  


"Hues of China", LA Art Show, Los Angeles, USA


Lille Art Fair, Contemporary Art Fair, Lille, France


"Dismantling", On gallery, Beijing, China

"Attitude - About Abstract Art", Shanghai Suzhouhe Art Center, Shanghai, China


La Nouvelle Vague Chinoise d'Art Contemporain", Galerie Dock Sud, Montpellier, France

Lille Art Fair, Contemporary Art Fair, Lille, France

St-art, Contemporary Art Fair, Strasbourg, France

Art Stage, Singapore Art Fair, Singapore, LDX Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China


CIGE 2010, Contemporary Art Fair, Beijing, China

Art Beijing Contemporary Art Fair, 2010, Beijing, China

"Heteromery 39°", LDX Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China

Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai Exhibition Center, Shanghai, China

"The Big Bang", Contemporary Chinese Art, White Rabbit Gallery, Beijing, China

"Unnatural ?", LDX Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China


Integration-Chinese and French Abstract Art Exhibition, Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China

"Attitude", LDX Contemporary Art Center, Beijing, China


Course, Gefen Conteporary Art Museum, Shengzhen, China


Not The Right Time, Soemo Fine Arts, Songzhuang, Beijing, China

Beijing Art Fair, 1st Floor Exhibition Hall of Beijing International Trade Center, Beijing, China

Xu . Shi Part II, Belgium Embassy, Beijing, China

Xu . Shi, Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China


Welcome to Songzhuang, Soemo Fine Arts, Beijing, China

Shanghai Abstract Art, Mingyuan Art Centre, Shanghai, China


Artists Yi Ling and Lin Chunyan Exhibition, Guangdong Art Museum, Guangdong, China


China and France Culture Exchange, Lille, France


The Beads and Style of Drawing, Tokyo Art Projects, Beijing, China


Art Exhibition of Spiritual Sight, Donghuan Square, Beijing, China


Peinture Contemporaine Chinoise, l'Espace Lhomond, Paris, France


MONDRIAAN IN CHINA - Tour Exhibition, Beijing International Art Garden, Shanghai Library, Guangdong Art Museum, China


The magic and mystery of Yiling's artwork

A veteran, or should that say 'survivor', of the Yuanmingyuan art collective post 1995 demise, the artist Yiling's resume is impressive, his works having been exhibited widely across China, including his native Shanghai, and internationally ~ from Singapore to Germany, Belgium, Holland, France, and Luxembourg. Previously, between the years of 1983 and 1987, the artist toured China on bicycle, travelling from the northern to the southern provinces. During this time, he appreciated first-hand the many forms of Chinese folk-art, taking a particular interest in the various patterns and decorations of China's many different cultural minorities ~ these at times mysterious encounters becoming a foundation for his artistic development.

To quote the artist himself: "My artistic experience developed from my cultural ~ the more I experienced, the greater my wish was to paint. I find that painting is a means to communicate, one kind of expression" yet the more that I paint, the more I don't want to paint, because it is very strenuous work, even though it is filled with love and freedom. For me, the most magical power of art is to invoke mystery, and to let the distress of reality be forgotten. Art is as immortal life".

It is this desire for freedom ~ both in life and in art, if the two can be made separate ~ that is the key to Yiling's work: for within his canvases the use of abstract symbols, human and animal figures, both religious and pop-culture iconography, primitive cartoon-like forms at times boldly outlined, at times cryptic and seemingly hidden, evoke a playful amusement from the viewer. There is a definite sense of life and movement amidst the kinetic lines, a constant flow of energy, an active experiment with the interconnection of images. The labyrinth can appear even dreamlike / hallucinatory, as we decode an image only to find a moment later that it was a figment of our imagination, then suddenly find amongst the network and pathways of interweaving lines a form that is real, and we smile with a child-like amusement at our discovery. Indeed, it is as if an innocence, both primitive and of youth, is present ~ a refreshment to the eye and mind so occupied by the sturm und drang of modern life.

Within the works, although elements may appear as separate entities ~ we may define the shape of a female body, a tank, a letter, character, or number for example ~ there is a embracing continuity tied to the incessant motion of the line, their all being part of some fantastical quasi-Pompeian mosaic. Yiling produces and provides the artistic equivalent of automatic writing, where primitive impulses and sexuality collide then absorb and embrace popular culture and consumerism in a teeming dreamscape, where the collective unconscious mind can unfold imagery ~ mind-games inside a canvas playground. If the artist's intention is to provide for our escape into this fantasy world then we can indeed look in, look on.