Hsiao Chin: The Golden Age - Art Collector

Hsiao Chin, Passage through the great threshold – 25, 1991. Acrylic on paper, 75 x 143cm. Courtesy: the artist and River Art

By Jason Yen

Who are we? Why are we here? Jason Chung Tang Yen investigates these age old questions through the work of abstractionist Hsiao Chin

This year, abstractionist Hsiao Chin turned 80, a milestone birthday for the master of colour, who has touched countless art-lovers and collectors with his perseverance and continual creativity.

As the son of the father of modern Chinese music Hsiao Youmei, Chin was surrounded by art and music from an early age. In the early 1960s he started painting on canvas with ink, using a variety of different techniques that result in endless combinations and effects. In 1955, Chin founded the Ton Fan Group with artists Chen Tao Ming, Ho Kan, Hsia Yan, Hsiao Ming-Hsien, Li Yuan-chia, Ouyang Wen-Yuan, and Wu Hao. The group was one of the pioneers of the abstraction movement.

From the philosophies of Lao Tzu to Tantric murals, underneath Chin’s dazzling colour studies lies the possibility for meditation and the discovery of enigmatic riddles, a depth beyond minimalism that speaks to tradition and ancient intellect. Chin’s innovation was built on tradition; this exploration and continuation of the old ways imbues his work with a unique elegance, combined with his more modern influences.

Hsiao Chin, La forza del colore arancio, 2009. Acrylic on canvas, 90 x 75cm. Courtesy: the artist and River Art

Chin has an innate curiosity of the infinite cosmos; through his practice he explores time, space and the two pivotal philosophical queries have perplexed thinkers and artists for centuries: Who are we? What is the purpose of life? His intense colour work seems to comprise the boundless universe around us, a complex and paradoxical parallel of emptiness and void. This is a timeless trial, an immortal life. When his daughter Samantha passed away in 1990, Chin began a series of work titled The Great Threshold; developing his exploration of the meaning of life and the universe. He once said: “I’m not of the Earth originally, I’m from space. If there’s a chance, I would want to explore space.”

Chin is represented by Lin & Lin Gallery in Taipei and Lotus Art Gallery in Kaohsiung. His major retrospective: Eighty Years of Energy, Hsiao Chin’s Retrospect & Prospect is currently on view at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung till 10 January 2016. River Art in Sanyi is also showing his works, on view until 6 December 2015.

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