Born in 1935, Shiao Chin is the son of the famous composer and music educator Xiao Youmei. After the early death of his father, Shiao Chin lived with his mother’s brother Wang Shih-Chief. He later came to Taiwan and studied in the division of art at Taipei Normal Education School (now the National Taipei University of Education). He also practiced painting with Lee Chun-Shan in his art studio. In the early stage of Shiao’s artistic practice, he was influenced by Paul Klee and Joan Miró whose works feature calligraphy-like abstraction. In 1955, Shiao gave up the pursuit of the figurative representation and started exploring abstract painting in a more absolute style. For Shiao, such an artistic expression gave him more freedom which directly came from his heart without being affected by the external world. When he came to Europe in 1956, he was under the influence of the avantgarde practice of Informalism and created a more unrestrained style. In 1958, his oil painting inherited the symmetric structure, which was commonly seen in Chinese calligraphy and thus demonstrated a more personal style. In 1960, Shiao gave up a more concrete way to express his artistic exploration. Instead, he started adopting a style featuring geometric arrangement in regular pattern, while these dotted, well-organized shapes could prove how he was inspired by Chinese calligraphy. In 1961, he started using ink-wash and opaque watercolor on paper or canvas instead of oil paint on canvas to capture the pure transparent spirituality. Meanwhile, the geometric composition is further emphasized to create certain touch of humor. The circles and the bar-shaped images gradually became the main artistic vocabulary of Shiao’s painting, which could still be taken as the inheritance from the calligraphic spirit. To explain it more specifically, it was the artist’s practice to adopt the wide painting brushes in Western painting to create the calligraphic line-and-shape. The bar-like streamline shape painted with a large wide painting brush made an interesting difference from the more-organized dotted pattern in his works in 1962. One of the noticeable parts was the blank in the paintings and the Chinese characters which could be regarded as the focus of the works. His later works after 1980, such as Zen series, Chi series, and Cross the End series, still maintained the spirit of calligraphy although they were more associated with religious art. In conclusion, Shiao’s painting has perfectly combined the forms of non-figurative art and calligraphic style to visualize his continuously exploration of the Chinese philosophy.
The simple line stands firmly in the huge space of blankness as if it is dividing the painting in two. However, the black-and-white image seems to create a silent spirit to connect the two parts in a mysterious way. The lines in an abstract form also demonstrate a strong calligraphic style.
Shiao Chin was growing up with music and art, but he chose painting as his lifelong devotion. In the 1950s, when the modern art movement was about to start in Taiwan, Shiao Chin studied painting with Lee Chun-Shan and followed the movement to establish “Eastern Painting Group,” introducing the avant-garde practice to the modern art movement in Taiwan. Later, he went to Europe to explore more artistic possibilities, and his artistic exploration turned into a more metaphysical way instead of following the abstract forms in his previous works. Combining the ideology and the materials of the Chinese tradition with Western painting, Shiao demonstrates his uniqueness in painting. Through the belief in Taoism, he reflects the myth of the universe and adopts plain shapes as his artistic vocabulary to create a space of harmony. Shiao’s painting is no longer the rational exploration but the spiritual sphere beyond the reality.
|English title：||Zen No.9|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|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, 1931-1940|