In 1954, Yang Feiyun was born in Baotou, Inner Mongolia. He is currently the Dean of the Chinese Academy of Oil Painting at Chinese National Academy of Arts and Doctoral Supervisor, Director of Oil Painting Committee at China Artists Association, Vice President of China Oil Painting Society, Guest Professor of China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Corresponding Member of Academia Delle Arti del Disegno (Academy of the Arts of Drawing), Guest Professor of Russian Repin Academy of Fine Arts and Representative of the 11th, 12th and 13th National People’s Congress.
During his more than 40-year art career, Yang Feiyun has not only created a number of portraits but also devoted himself to a large number of landscape paintings. Various themes are involved his landscape paintings, including work on almost every corner of his homeland, which reflects his realistic feelings and classical spirit. Besides, he left lots of touching moments by depicting different European cities when he was on exploratory trips around Europe.
Yang Feiyun graduated from the Oil Painting Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1982. Studying under Mr. Jin Shangyi’s supervision, Yang Feiyun received the best art educational inheritance of CAFA. The Chinese Economic Reform made the entire 1980s full of new feelings and pursuits in regards both neo-art and traditional art. From this trend, two years after Yang Feiyun’s graduation, he brewed a batch of passionate works in a neo-classical style. His tendency to pursue painting in this period is to create perfect, generalized figure paintings with classical lasting stability.
Yang Feiyun is actually a painter with a strong emotional and spiritual qualities. Due to his personal temperament and introverted personality, his external character seems to be strict and steady. However, enthusiasm and passion are rooted in his heart. It is his inner emotions that make his art full of real and abundant vitality and spirit. As a painter, he has realized the true essence regarding the beauty of art images and art itself. Based on this, he is always making efforts to create a harmonious realm of subjects’ with inner and external beauty. In Yang Feiyun’s viewpoint, such harmony could be the true meaning of portrait art and body art.
Yang Feiyun believes that three perspectives are required to form a painter. First of all, research and mastering painting techniques are necessary. This is the vehicle for a painter to move forward. Secondly, the establishment of spiritual beliefs is expected. It is the driving force and the life of art. Only by injecting spiritual belief into art creation can they enlighten the power and glory of life behind artworks. In addition, the accumulation of academic knowledge and the understanding of cognitive ability can facilitate works’ quality and academic standards. In conclusion, there is no vitality in paintings without spirit, no excellent quality without knowledge accumulation and no ability without technique. By combining these three aspects, a good painter can be formed.
As Fan Di’an, President of CAFA, commended Yang Feiyun and his work stating that, he focused on the relationship between real-life at present and the spiritual state of the characters. Through the portrayal of the figures and their environment, he expresses his feelings on daily scenes and the existence of life, thus he places his personal emotions onto them. He pays more attention to the concrete depiction of subjects’ characteristics of the times and the features of the real world. By portraying the choice of subjects, the personalities, the wearing and the costumes of figures, and even many details of daily necessities, he expresses the reality that exists in everyday life, which makes his artworks full of vitality, interest and realistic significance.
Text edited and translated by Emily Weimeng Zhou
Photo courtesy of the artist