Sculpture (metal, wood, granite)
Cheung Yee was born in 1936 Canton and graduated
in 1958 from Fine Art of Taiwan Normal University.
He moved to work in Hong Kong in the early 1960s.
A grant from Institute of International Education
in 1965, let him to visit museums and meet artists
in USA and Europe. He has had successful
individual shows in USA, London, Manila and of
course Hong Kong, and also many group exhibitions
in Hong Kong and abroad.
In the first dozen or more years of his career, as
though the memory of his earlier life was no
insistent and difficult to subdue, the ancient
sculptures he twisted, pinched and crushed in his
artistic vision were reborn in objects also of
cast-bronze (sometimes of beaten copper and aluminum,
when lack of funds forced him to resort these
But the fullness and vigor in Cheung's sculptures
did not come from their retention, if in Picasso
or Francis Bacon made, of the original shapes of
tortoises, dragons and masks of Shang bronzes.
Rather, reflections of Freud and Jung, but none of
Confucius, radiated from Cheung Yee's creations.
He also worked in granite and wood during the
early 1958-73 phase. Also he had made prints. All
of these were, in comparison with his later works,
small pieces. the largest being only about two
Working at first in cluttered workshop in Hong Kong's
pastoral New Territories, he moved in the early
1970s to another quite area, village in Clearwater
Bay on Hong Kong Island.
While steadily building reputation among Southeast
Asian artists and art-lovers, and soon enough
among British, then Japanese and European, and
later American collectors, Cheung Yee was
tormented by constraints (mainly financial) that
made it impossible for him to create sculptures of
epic proportions in bronze, granite and wood.
From 1973 onward, however, the accolades he had
won, coupled with the increasing force of his
inner urges for more gigantic expressions, pushed
him to risk making larger investment on his
He has since then been casting larger bronzes and
making truly massive wooden sculptures, some as
tall and thrice as wide as apartment doors. He has
also been working in larger pieces of granite,
especially chosen for their natural colors and
Cheung Yee has slowly turned away in his wood
sculptures, from the stark black (which he used to
burn into the wood) to studied appreciation of the
wood's natural colors and grains. He chose woods
with dark brown and black patterns, which were
consistent with the resurrection of the ancient
Shang spirit he has never ceased seeking to voice
in his works. The use of wood's colors is
progression in Yee's art. In former works, he
largely sought to release the forms he saw in old
rootstocks and driftwoods.