Hsiao Chin is probably one of the most important Chinese artists of the twentieth century and beginning of the twenty first. Ever since he embarked on his artistic career back in the 1950s, he has been producing interesting works of high quality. Hsiao Chin travelled extensively gathering vital experiences and encounters with important people of the era(s). He made friendships with the iconic artists of the time and was often influenced by their art. Robilant + Voena present Hsiao Chin’s biggest show since the 2010 in Kaohsiung museum in Taiwan. This exhibition features some thirty works from Hsiao Chin’s different periods.
Hsiao Chin was one of the earliest and ingenious artists who strived to create synthesis of East and West. He started in the 1950s forming the first Chinese abstract painting movement, together with a few young artists. The group was called Ton-Fan Art Group aka Eastern Painting Society. The history group was largely interested in the history of art of Western post-war abstraction. The same year Chin received a scholarship to study in Madrid and began one of his many journeys. However, he remained an active group member despite the distance. Hsiao Chin was not satisfied with Madrid’s Academy so he moved to Barcelona where he remained for the next three years and made influential friendships with founders of the Art Informel, Tapies, Subirachs, Saura and Cuixart. Chin’s works from this period are mainly monumental vibrant abstractions characterized by lightness of colors and spiritual compositions. The influences of wide range of artists can be seen – Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian,Kazimir Malevich, Paul Klee, Lucio Fontana and many others. It seems as if Chin has found a fine way to filter these influences through his own universe and experience and created amalgamation that is both dynamic and contemplative.
In the following period Hsiao Chin traveled extensively. He first moved to Milan, Italy where he befriended Lucio Fontana, Enrico Castellani and Pierre Manzoni. In Milan he created Puno Art Movement with Italian artist Antonio Calderara. Chin also stayed in London for six months and lived in the U.S.A. from 1962 until 1972, teaching painting at the several prestigious art schools. Chin became familiar with the work of Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning and Roy Lichtenstein whose influences are to be seen in Chin’s use of geometric forms and bright colors. The symbol of circle begins to reappears, showing his connection with Taoist philosophy. After US Chin returns to Milan and continues to exhibit throughout Europe. The Tiananmen massacre in 1989 drives him to paint the series titled Non Dimenticare (Do not forget) as a commemoration to the innocent victims.
Following Hsiao Chin’s work through the decades we can notice change that is gradually taking place. His works range from sign writings in the 1960s to the more chromatic works of the 1970s and playful colors of the 1980s. Chin’s works are a unique amalgamation of Eastern spirituality and Western abstraction. His art creates dialogue between cultures, as he worked during the Cold War and other ideological conflicts in the following decades. Above all Hsiao Chin offers us one of the most authentic contemporary expressions.
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Images in Slider: Hsiao Chin - Equilibrium, 1995 and Hsiao Chin - The Horizon, 1962
Featured Images are Courtesy of Robilant + Voena.