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Artist Realizes Dreams via Modern Ways
At the age of 44, Beijing artist Liu Yongge is still a hopeless romantic. With great artistic acumen, the man has tried to transfer the images in his mind on to a sheet of canvas.

A number of his impressive works will be included in his first solo show in Paris and Brussels in August, at the invitation of the Paris-based newspaper Europe Times and an organization in Belgium.

On display will be around 80 wash-ink paintings Liu has created in the style of modern abstract. The exhibition will present European audiences with the spiritual world of a Chinese painter, who is also a calligrapher, designer and writer.

Although modern in composition, subject and concept, the creations, however, are made by the artist with traditional tools of Chinese ink painting, conveying a distinctive Chinese flavor.

"No matter whether it is abstract or figurative, his works are portraits of his true feelings without following any fashionable trends," remarked Zhen Yu, a Beijing art expert.

"With colors and ink lines, he quietly tells his dreams from the past and about the future."

Liu Yongge said he started to pursue his dream of art when he was a child, consciously or unconsciously.

"So long as I work hard and have fun, I feel satisfied," Liu said.

It was this simple philosophy that led Liu out of the narrow street in downtown Beijing, where he was born, towards the life of a devoted artist.

Influenced by his grandmother, a skilled folk artisan, Liu has had an interest in art since his childhood.

At six, Liu was already a student of Liao Tong, an old artist who had studied under master painter Wu Changshuo (1884-1927). Later on, he had the opportunity to study painting under Li Xinmin and Long Rui, both accomplished painters. At 19, he became a student of Liang Shunian, a famous ink painter and professor of the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

"Studying has laid a solid foundation in my skills as a painter and stimulated my early feelings and impulses in art," Liu recalled.

After serving as an artist in the army for several years, Liu worked as a designer and painter under the Beijing Cultural Bureau.

In 1989, he found his present job as a teacher and a graphic artist at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, where he teaches international students the art of Chinese ink painting and calligraphy.

It was during this period that he had more time and energy to paint. It was also here that he found himself closer to his dream of being a real artist and his personal artistic style matured.

In the past few years, he has held several solo shows and his works of art have been displayed in many group exhibitions in China. He has also won many awards for his work.

His paintings have turned from loyally portraying reality to digging into the inner world of himself and Chinese people, with abundant influences from religion, philosophy and literature.

"Through my teaching of international students, I find that the knowledge of Chinese art is not very well-known among foreigners, although many of them have a strong interest in learning more," Liu said.

(China Daily June 05, 2002)

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