Throwing back to the 1960s, Taiwan was launching a revolutionary art movement,when deconstructions of representation and expressions of abstraction trended at the time. Inspired by Neo-Impressionism in the west, young artists of the Fifth Moon and the Eastern Painting Group aimed at promoting modern art. The society was conservative at the time, so they tried very hard to break new ground. CHENG Chung Chuan, born in Hsinchu in the dynamic era, became the first generation of post-war female artists in Taiwan modern art.
In the exhibition Women Adventures: Five Eras of Taiwanese Art, organized by the Taipei Fine Arts Museum in 2013, CHENG was listed as the first among the four painters in the 1960s (CHENG Chung Chuan, LI Fang, June HUANG, Swallow Y.LIN), who pursued the avant-garde art and modern art, revealing CHENG's representative and significant position in the history of Taiwan modern art.
The Period of Time in Hsinchu
CHENG was born in 1931 in her father’s hospital located in Beimen Street(Omotecho), Hsinchu. Her father, CHENG Guo Chuan, was a gentry with his career across politics and business. Her mother, LI Liang, born in a famous family, was LI Xi Jin&'s granddaughter. CHENG&'s family was the representative of the elite family in the Japanese Colonial Period, which explained why she received complete education.
During CHENG’s student time at the First Kindergarten, the Ordinary Elementary School, the Girl’s Junior High School, and the Girl’s Senior High School in Hsinchu, her performance always ranked among the best, which made her famous on campus. In1952, she was admitted to the Department of Fine Art in Taiwan Normal University,and taught by CHU Teh Chun, LIAO Chi Chun, and PU Hsin Yu. Furthermore, she went to LEE Shih Chiao's studio to practice sketching, giving her access to modern art. In1957, one year after graduation, her teacher LIAO Chi Chun recommended her and CHEN Ching Jung to participate in the Fifth Moon Painting Group's first exhibition at the Zhongshan Hall. They also became the Fifth Moon Group’s founding members with KUO Tong Jong, LIU Kuo Sung, LI Fang, and KUO Yu Lun.
In the same year, through the introduction of LIAO Chi Chun, CHENG got married with LIANG Fu Chuan, who received his master’s degree in Economics in Japan, and settled down in Setagaya, Tokyo. The different values between CHENG and her husband led to their on-going conflicts, causing a decade's interruption in CHENG's work. Until the end of the 1960s, CHENG returned to the road of art with perseverance and wisdom.
The Period of Time in Japan
After CHENG got married in 1957 and settled down in Japan, she devoted herself to studying and her artworks, but the responsibility of raising children and doing housework got into the way of her dream. Unwilling to give up, she cultivated her cogitation through reading books and newspapers, socializing and feeling the environment. During that period of time, Japan, which had a strong economy,organized grand exhibitions that included hundreds of famous paintings by Goya,Miró, Magritte, Picasso, etc. Through art criticism and exhibitions, CHENG expanded her horizon of art. Unable to create art, she remembered her original intention, and moreover, fostered the energy of creation.
The 1960s was a time of the Japanese economic miracle, and CHENG was involved in it and enjoyed lots of modern convenience. The avant-garde trend of art in this generation, was exactly the heyday of non-figurative and abstract arts, which inspired CHENG’s opinion on art. In addition, the best-selling book in the 1960s,"The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" written by Joseph Murphy, also influenced CHENG. This book taught people how to master the miracle power, relieved people of their confusion, pain, depression and failure, and made people full of vitality and confidence. Through interactions between consciousness and subconsciousness, the book skillfully led people to specific goals, exploiting the infinite power within.Therefore, CHENG returned to her art career in 1969 and participated in the activities of Japanese painting groups. "My paintings express my spirit andenthusiasm, and I want to create my own paintings",CHENG stated. Out of passion,CHENG's artworks were always full of energy and diversity.
Return to Taiwan
CHENG Chung Chuan determined to return to Taiwan after her first solo exhibition at the age of sixty in 1991 in Japan. In the following year, she returned to Taiwan and lived in Taipei while participating the renewed"Fifth Moon Painting Group"and the"Female Artists Association of Taipei"Her power of creativeness that accumulated over the years spread out like a prairie fire. During that time, the freedom of the soul, the sense of the environment, the history of her family, and the power of the subconscious all became CHENG’s subject of artworks. Through the semi-figurative and abstract art of day and night, dawn and evening, plants and flowers, and the scenery of four seasons, CHENG injected power into her artworks. Using different shapes of lines while layering textures with painting skills, she formed visually dynamic artworks through the unrestrained colors of yellow, red, white, black, and gold, and was invited to many exhibitions.
After 2003, CHENG moved to her hometown, Hsinchu. "Home is the most secure place to live in, "he said. Stability of life in her hometown made her explore the
subjects in the east, such as the universe, the atmosphere, the Yin and Yang, and the Tai Chi. As time goes by, inspirations to her recent artworks originate mostly from the philosophy in life. CHENG’s artworks become free of form, exhibiting versatility via different layouts.
CHENG Chung Chuan continued her self-study with a strong vitality and began her artistic career. After undergoing various experiences in life, her strength of “being true to the self” supported her to keep up with the time. She creates her artworks from "the bottom of her heart". CHENG’s teacher LIAO Chi Chun once said, "Abstract paintings are a natural trend, since modern painting has developed from the outer visions to the inner feelings."CHENG Chung Chuan's mind has been pure and clean,thus, simple and elegant artworks are created.
CHENG's life presented how women broke free from traditions and become professional modern artists. She said, "Being a person is the same as painting, you must believe in yourself in order to achieve greatness." She is one of the most respected female artists in Taiwan modern art.
展期｜即日起2020/1/21(二)-3/25(三) 9:00-17:00 (免費參觀，每週一休館)