TING YIN YUNGBorn on 15 April 1902 in Xieji (currently Gaozhou), Maoming County in Guangdong and passed away on 23 December 1978 at St. Teresa’s Hospital in Hong Kong.
In his pursuit to bridge Eastern and Western artistic traditions, Ting belonged to the first generation of Chinese artists to explore new expressions and absorb Western concepts, such as Impressionism, Fauvism and Abstract Expressionism which he was exposed to during his studies at the Tokyo Fine Arts School from 1921 to 1925. After returning to China, he continued to develop his oil painting skills and established art societies with like-minded artists, such as Chen Baoyi, Guan Liang, Chen Shuren, Gao Jianfu, and Ni Yide, to promote new and progressive artistic visions. In 1928, he participated in the preparatory work for the Guangzhou Municipal Museum(currently Guangzhou Museum) and remained there for a long time. During this period, he learned about traditional Chinese paintings, calligraphy and antiquities and became interested in the paintings of Bada Shanren and Shi Tao, which inspired Ting to start painting in the traditional shuimo (ink) style. After settling in Hong Kong in1949, he continued to paint in both oil and ink paintings. Most notably, he incorporated ancient scripts, such as those found in oracle bones, into his oil paintings, thereby developing his own unique artistic language. In the nation’s quest to modernize Chinese art, Ting was one of the first to realize that for any new art to be truly transformative, one needed to draw upon the modern elements inherent in Chinese traditional art. With this in mind, he took up seal carving that draws upon the modern, at times minimalist, elements of both Eastern and Western traditions.
Ting was deeply committed to art education, playing an active role in the art circles in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing, and teaching in several public and private schools, including Zhonghua University of Fine Arts, Guangzhou Municipal Art School, National Art School and Guangdong Provincial College of Art. His participation in the establishment of the Guangzhou Municipal Museum, the first public museum in Southeast China, was no less rigorous. In Hong Kong, Ting continued this engagement with art education through teaching, exhibitions and the nurturing of young artists. In 1957, together with Chen Shih Wen, Ting founded the Fine Arts Specialized Training Program at the New Asia College (now the Department of Fine Arts at the Chinese University of Hong Kong) where he taught until his retirement in 1987. His students during this period include, among many, Mayching Kao and Mok E-den, who played key roles in introducing and promoting Ting’s art. His paintings have been exhibited in Japan, France, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thai, the United States, Italy, Australia and Canada, allowing an international audience to better understand how traditional Chinese art can inform and enhance Chinese modern art.