Hung Gen-shen was born to a noble family in Penghu, 1946. His grandfather excelled in sinology and the study of changes, and ran a private school teaching students in their hometown. Hung Gen-shen’s father, Hung Ting-stung, was a household registration officer of Huxi Township. He also taught villagers sinology aside from work. Under family influence, Hung has had a solid knowledge base since he was little. In 1966, the artist was admitted to the Department of Fine Arts, National Normal University. Believing that he lacked the basic training in fine arts, he practiced sketching hard on his own, and studied Chinese landscape painting under Huang Chun-pi and plein-air painting under Li Shih-chiao.
Hung graduated in 1970 and was assigned to Makung Junior High School back in Penghu. He was transferred to a school in Kaohsiung in 1972 and has since lived there. He has taught at Daren Junior High School, Kaohsiung Municipal Senior High School, and the Department of Fine Arts, National Kaohsiung Normal University. Since he moved to Kaohsiung, he has devoted himself to making experimental ink and wash painting aside from teaching. He holds one solo exhibition almost annually. He also organizes painting groups, writes art reviews, and makes chronologies for his art community to promote modern art in Kaohsiung.
One can see from Perseverance that the author attempts to break away from the traditional idea that Chinese painting must be painted with single materials—that is, ink and wash. Instead, he applies a variety of materials to fulfill his artistic ideals. In continuation of his long-time pursuit of humanity, Hung places a human figure against a turbulent background to achieve a strong, contrasting visual effect. But in the mean time, he also uses more static, “rational-looking” lines to bring all the jumping elements together and attain stability.
Hung Gen-shen decided that ink and wash painting would be his main focus when he was in college, and made sure that he would bring new elements to this historical genre. In the 1970s, he developed the “learning the new” approach, using rubbing, collage, and mixed media to create art. This has also enabled him to more freely experiment materials and techniques. Hung’s “sense of reality” makes him different from abstract ink and wash painters of the 1960s. He cares about environment and humanity the most. With an emphasis of “locally-inspired art,” moreover, his artworks are deeply personal and full of his care for the society. It should be noted that Kaohsiung became an industrial city in the 1970s too hastily, and by the 1980s, it had become much more unsuitable for living than before. Thus, when Hung’s sense of reality and locality was transferred onto the painting paper, it became a profound, self-suppressed melancholia for the ever worsening environment of southern Taiwan.
Hung’s conclusive view on ink and wash painting is as follows: materials, techniques and subject
matters should complement one another, and that an artist should never solely focus on finding new forms. In order to better describe his living environments and his inner thoughts, he not only applies different materials to create powerful signs and structures, but also reflects upon the human nature and the environment through indicative or metaphoric shapes inspired by his home community.
|Medium / Classification：||Mixed Media|
|Collection Unit：||Collection of the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
Guide to the Use of Image Files and Data from the Online Collection Database
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1941-1950|
|Related Work：||Mesmerized 2 Black Plot No. 21|