‘From China To Taiwan: Pioneers of Abstraction’ is an exhibition which will be held at the Musée d’Ixelles in Brussels from June 15th to September 24th.
The exhibition ‘From China To Taiwan: Pioneers of Abstraction’ retraces for the first time in the West the origins and evolution of twentieth-century Chinese abstract painting. Aside from the works themselves, the exhibition also explores the fabulous and epic careers of these Chinese artists, who were obliged to leave their homeland in 1949 and seek refuge in Taiwan.
In 1950, the United States, fearing a conflict with mainland China, decided to take the island under its protection and introduced Western culture. In this new environment, the artists discovered Impressionism and the abstract art of the New York school in the magazines and books in the American Library in Taipei.
Abstract art then became a means for the artists to join the international contemporary movement and express their deep roots.
In 1956 and 1957, the two most significant avant-garde Taiwanese movements were formed: the ‘Ton Fan Group’, founded by eight of Lee Chun-Shan’s pupils, and the ‘Wuyue Group’—also known as the ‘Fifth Moon Group’—, some of whose members were followers of Chu Teh-Chun.
This exhibition was conceived by Sabine Vazieux, a Parisian gallery owner, who has spent the last five years travelling around the world to meet these artists. This is her tribute to them and their work, as the curator of the exhibition.
Chen Ting-Shih (Fujian, China) 1913–2002 (Taichung, Taiwan)
In 1947, the artist moved to Taiwan, joined the Association of Wood Engravers, and pursued his vocation as a satirical illustrator. In 1958, he founded the Modern Print Association. He was invited to join the Fifth Moon Group in 1965.
Chu Teh-Chun (Baitou, China) 1920–2014 (Paris, France)
He entered the Hangzhou National Academy of Fine Arts in 1935. In 1949, Chu Teh-Chun moved to Taipei, where he taught art at the Taiwan Provincial Normal University. Chu Teh-Chun travelled to Europe in 1955 and settled in Paris. He attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and discovered the new School of Paris.
Chu Wei-Bor b.1929 (Nanjing, China) He joined the Ton Fan Group in 1958.
Chuang Che b.1934 (Peking, China)
In 1954, Chuang Che entered the Department of Fine Arts at the Taiwan Provincial Normal University. He visited Europe in 1968 and spent six months in Paris, where he met up with Zao Wou-Ki and Chu Teh-Chun; he then went to Spain, where he met Antoni Tapiès. In 1973, he moved to the United States and settled in Michigan.
Fong Chung-Ray b.1934 (Nanyang, China)
He moved to Taiwan in 1949.
In 1961, he joined the Wuyue Group (the ‘Fifth Moon Group’) and took part in many exhibitions.
Ho Kan b.1932 (Nanjing, China)
Ho Kan followed his school to Taiwan in 1949. He joined Lee Chun-Shan’s famous studio in 1951. In 1956, Ho Kan co-founded the Ton Fan Group.
Hsiao Chin b.1935, (Shanghai, China)
Hsiao Chin grew up in an artistic environment. In 1949, he moved to Taiwan, where he stayed for a while. In 1952, Hsiao Chin joined Lee Chun-Shan’s famous studio, where he discovered Western painting and studied abstraction. In 1956, he actively participated in founding the Ton Fan Group. In 1959, he settled in Milan, where he founded the Punto Group.
Hsiao Ming Hsien b.1936 (Nantou, Taiwan)
In 1952, he enrolled in the Department of Fine Arts in the National Taipei University of Education, and in 1955, he was the youngest of the eight founding members of the Ton Fan Group.
In 1964, his fascination for French painting led him to live in Paris for five years. In 1973, he settled in New Jersey.
Hu Chi-Chung –2012 (Los Angeles, United States)Zhejiang, China, 1928
In 1948, during the war, he went to Shanghai and enlisted in the navy. He founded the Four Seas Artists Association in 1956 with his friend, Fong Chung-Ray, and then joined the Wuyue Group (the ‘Fifth Moon Group’) in 1961.
Lee Chun-Shan (Guangdong, China) 1912–1984 (Changhua, Taiwan)
In his youth Lee Chun-Shan studied at the famous Guangzhou School of Art in China. In 1933, he joined the Department of Fine Arts in Nihon University in Tokyo. In 1949, he left China and moved to Taipei. Many artists in the Ton Fan Group were influenced by his teaching.
Lee Shi-Chi b.1938 (Kinmen, China)
In 1955, he practised figurative wood engraving. In 1963, Ho Kan asked him to join the Ton Fan Group.
Li Yuan-Chia (North-eastern Guangxi, China) 1929–1994, (Carlisle, England)
Fleeing from the civil war, Li Yuan-Chia moved to Taiwan in 1949. He soon became one of the founding members of the Ton Fan Group. In 1962, Li moved to Bologna, in Italy, where he developed his concept of the ‘Cosmic Point’. Three years later, he left Italy and settled in England.
Liu Kuo-Sung b.1932 (Anhui, China)
In 1949, he sought refuge in Taiwan and was taught by Chu Teh-Chun at the National Taipei Normal University. In 1957, he founded the famous Wuyue Group (the ‘Fifth Moon Group’), of which he was the leader and theoretician. Considered a pioneer, Liu Kuo-Sung now embodies the revival of Chinese ink painting.
Tsai Hsia-Lin b.1935 (China, Suzhou)
In 1949, he left China and moved to Taiwan, where he studied the fine arts and mathematics at the National Taipei Normal University.
In 1961, he travelled to Germany, where he remained until 1968, when he moved to France.
Richard Lin 1933–2011 (Taichung, Taiwan)
Richard Lin came from a famous Taiwanese family and benefitted from a good education; he was able to complete his studies in Hong Kong in 1949.He eventually left for London, where he continued his training in art and architecture between 1954 and 1958.
Zao Wou-Ki (China, Peking) 1920–2013 (Nyon, Switzerland)
In 1935, when he was only fifteen, he was admitted to the Hangzhou National Academy of Fine Arts. In 1948, he travelled by sea to France, where he settled in the Montparnasse district of Paris. He attended the Académie de la Grande-Chaumière and befriended abstract artists in Paris, May 23rd 2017 the School of Paris. In 1957, he embarked on a long journey that took him from the United States to Japan.