The difference between one’s life and another’s, besides upbringings, characters, and qualities, will most importantly lie in chances and opportunities. Mr. Au Yeung Hing Yee had once earned himself an intimate and exclusive spot beside many modern art masters of China some 60 years ago. He had gone in and out with award-winning directors and socialites in Hong Kong and Taiwan in the 1980s. He has had a profound, long-lasting influence on Singapore’s culture, leaving us with insightful, wise quotes along with unparalleled artistic achievements in the local art scene to date.
In 1999, Au Yeung Hing Yee published a book Xu Beihong in Singapore, curating frames of Xu Beihong’s sojourn in Singapore and Malaysia before the Japanese Occupation with careful research. Having garnered tremendous acclaim in both China and Singapore, the book unravelled many hidden, unknown mysteries shrouded in history. The discoveries led to resounding rounds of shockwaves sent across art scenes. This book was reprinted over a dozen times and republished in mainland China, which is said to have “significant reference value in the art history of China”.
Like many artists, Au Yeung Hing Yee has never stopped painting with his beloved paintbrushes even for a day. His pure artistic works, initially consisting of oil paintings mostly, were eventually composed with acrylic paint. He occasionally also dabbled in traditional Chinese ink paintings. In the earlier stage, he focused on figurative expressionism, and finally shifted to abstract impressionism.
At the age of 55, he painted his first abstract work, The Colourful Clothes of the Rider, and settled on abstract painting from 60 onwards. He believes that “abstract art is the art of the heavens.” He often borrowed from ancient Chinese poems to title his works. With a clear picture in his mind, powerfully portrayed a sense of calmness that is elegantly unrestrained, culminating in artistic effects infused with bursts of vitality. He fought the pictures with his paintbrushes, ascribing them with a tempo, and an innate expansiveness that penetrates many of their conventional meanings. It was as if he was swinging a sharp sword, splitting open the shell and the base skin to illustrate the tenacity and freedom of beauty. Au Yeung Hing Yee admired the consciousness in his works, navigating around dichotomies that meet and part, tighten and spread, between illusion and reality. He could elevate the figurative portrayal to the status of a purely visual language, entering into the lingo groups governed under philosophical concepts.