In his abstract paintings Hai Shuet Yeung has assimilated ideas from Hong Kong and Taiwanese painters, but he has gone much further developing the maturity and individuality of a master. Dr. Anne Farrer – Curator of Chinese Paintings And Prints, British Museum, London.
Born in 1936 in China’s Guangdong (Canton) Province, is credited with introducing radical ideas and practices into painting. Hai Shuet Yeung does this at a time when artistic communities in China, Taiwan and elsewhere agonise over the future of the genres in the new millennium.
Abstract Landscape Paintings such as Hai Shuet Yeung’s ‘crumpled paper’ technique makes brushwork almost redundant. His images challenge widely accepted notions of perspective, composition and scale. This is very evident in his abstract paintings which are accessible as ‘landscapes’, ‘moonscapes’ or fantastic magnifications of minute parts. These can be viewed from unexpected angles, sideways, upside down or even reduced into multiple independent images.
In his most ambitious and the biggest painting so far, called Culture 5000, Hai Shuet Yeung demonstrated a remarkable co-existence between realism and abstraction by painting 5,339 carp on a subtle background reminiscent of his abstract landscapes. The 201.5 metre long and 1.5 metre wide water colour is painted on a single roll of paper .
Hai Shuet Yeung is a prolific painter, and has been a British resident since 1969. Hundreds of paintings created by this Grimsby-based artist show the progression and evolution of his style, from the classical and scholarly, to abstract expressionist. The innovation and complexity of the technique that is the hallmark of Culture 5000 is representative of his long career.
Hai Shuet Yeung’s work thus represents a significant point of departure for modern painting, and not only in a Chinese context. The images that he seems to create with wonderful ease have an astonishingly varied vocabulary, layers of meaning and significance, and command a universal appeal. Hai Shuet Yeung has been set apart from his contemporaries, who are known for variations on Guohua, the traditional Chinese painting, by endeavouring to refresh and renew media techniques, as well as the subject matter of his painting.
Saffron Books / Eastern Art Publishing have published a book by Hai Shuet Yeung called ‘Innovations In Abstraction’. This book was compiled by Sajid Rizvi – Publisher & Managing Editor, Eastern Art Report with contributions by:
Dr. Anne Farrer – Assistant Keeper, Department of Oriental Antiquities and Curator of Chinese Paintings and Prints, British Museum, London,
Professor Li Gongming – Professor of History of Art History at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Art, Guangzhou, Guangdong.
The book covers some of Hai Shuet Yeung’s life story, his different techniques and includes many illustrations and examples of his work.