Chinese artists by Michel Nau - Hsiao Chin  萧勤











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Hsiao Chin






Hsiao Chin  萧勤  -  portrait  -  Solo Exhibition  -  2021


Hsiao Chin  萧勤   -  portrait  -  Solo Exhibition  -  2021


萧勤  pinyin  Xiao Qin

Continental China

1935  Hsiao Chin  萧勤 (1935-2023) was born in Shanghai on January 30th. His father : Hsiao Yu-mei or Hsiao
as he was also known, was famous in Shanghai for founding the first conservatory of music in the city in 1927.
He and his sister
Xue-zhenen, born in 1937, were brought up by their mother Qi Cuei-zhen, known as Wen-lan, as protestants.

His father died of tuberculosis.
1945  His mother died of cancer.
1949  Having lived with an aunt for several years, the children were separated :
Hsaio Chin went to live with his uncle Wang Shih-chieh in Taiwan, whereas his sister, a gifted painist, went to live
with a couple who were artists.


1950  While he was attending Taipei Middle School, Hsiao Chin, also enrolled at the Scool of Art, where he studied drawing under the tuition of Chu Teh-Chun, and he joined the studio of Li Chun-Shan whose work had been very much inflenced by the west, and was considered to be quite unconventonal. Li Chun-Shan felt that there was a " wild " side
to him, and worked with him on composition and colours. A number of self portraits painted in oil, and several very
colourful works date from this period, showing clearly the influence of Cézanne, Gauguin and Matisse.

1954  He qualified as a teacher, and began to teach in the Ching-Mei Elementary School.
His sister was admitted to a psychiatric hospital that same year, suffering from schizophrenia.

1955  Although martial law had been imposed, Hsaio Chin and seven other Chineseartists took the risk of founding
 in pinyin dongfang huahui 东方画会 Orient Movement, the first movement in Chinese art, rather abstact art. Fortunately the regime was unfamiliar with avant-garde art, and the group was able to work. The following year, they organised their first exhibition at the Taipei News Building, Chughua Road. People rushed to get tickets for the exhibition, however some visitors were so shocked by what they saw there, that they threw their invitations on the ground, to show their disapproval. The artists, who had struggled to find the money to have their work printed, were somewhat upset. Nevertheless, the group carried on working for the next fifteen years, with regular exhibitions in Taipei, as well as in Italy, Spain, Germany and the USA.

1956 - 1957
 In order to continue painting, he managed to get a grant from the Spanish government which enabled him to go to Spain, in spite of some opposition. He felt that the Conservatory of Fine Art in San Fernando was too conservative, so he opted for Barcelona where he mixed with artists involved in work more representative of Spanish abstract art : Antoni Tapies and the founder members of the El Paso group.
In his large impasto works in oil, Hsiao Chin created shapes, like ideograms, which stood out against backgrounds in dull colours.
In order to survive, he wrote articles on avant-garde art in Europe in the 1950s, for publications in Taïwan such as the United Daily News, the Taipei literary review Wen-Shin, or the Cosmorama Pictorial in Hong Kong, all the while, trying to find his own style. He took part in the May Salon in Barcelona, and obtained a contract with the
Sala Gaspar gallery.


1958 - 1966  Leaving behind Spain and its anti-social climate, he decided to travel, even if this meant him losing the grant he had had such trouble obtaining. He went to Italy, first of all to Venice for the Biennial, where paintings by Mark Tobey and Mark Rothko made a big impression on him. He met Yves Klein, Paul Klee and Gabriele Mazzotta, who became one of his best friends, and one of the most important collectors of his work. After that, he went to Florence where his work was displayed at the Galleria Numero, the second gallery of Fiammo Vigo.

He moved to Milan. There he quickly got involved with a group of avant-garde artists. One of the first people
he contacted was the Argentinian Lucio Fontana, because they could communicate in Spanish. He later met Roberto Crippa, Enrico Castellani and Pierre Manzoni. He liked to tell the story of when they all went out one day to Abissolla,
on their lambretta, to work on ceramics. Their vehicle broke down on the edge of the town and they had to abandon it

He joined forces with a gallery owner called Giorgio Marconi, regularly displaying his work in Marconi's gallery.

He founded the Punto movement, with Antonio Calderara ( he began with figurative paintings then his work became more abstract after the death of his daughter ) and the Japanese sculptor Kengiro Azuma. Other artists from
the Ton-Fan group joined later, such as Li Yuan-Chia, and then artists from all over the world: German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian and Japanese, resulting in exhibitions in Barcelona, Italy, Rotterdam, Taipei, and Zurich.

Art was seen as a way to transcend human limitions in relation to infinity.

He used Chinese calligraphy, and surfaces that were predominantly white.
Quando c'è affinità, non c'è più distanza 1961, Completezza 1962

1964  Unable to stay in one place for very long, he spent several months in Paris, where he put together an important exhibition at the Galerie Internationale d'art contemporain, 253 rue Saint-Honoré, which was run by Comte Maurice D'Arquain. He then went on to Bâle, to see Mark Tobey, who had been living in Switzerland for two years.

1966  He decided to go to London, where he stayed for six months. At the Signal Gallery he met Paul Keeler.

This period marked a change in the both the life and work of the artist. he was on a more spiritual journey, delving into religion and Taoist philosophy. Yin and Yang figure in his geometric works.
via nell'infinitio
1965 meditazione 1965 Ink and acrylic on canvas, yin & yang 1967 acrylic on canvas.

The U.S.A

1967 - 1973  He went to New York with Giuseppa Pia Pizzo, the Italian artist whom he married in 1962.
Their daughter was born in New York.

During this period, he taught painting and drawing at Southampton College of Long Island University, New York, then at the Bâton-Rouge University in Louisiana.
He was delighted to be able to mix with artists such as Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, all of whom influenced his work.
Contemplation ( 27 acrylic canvas ) dates from this period.
The artist uses geometric shapes, in brightly coloured acrylics. The universe is represented by a circle which appears
in a different colours on different canvases. His series of works entitled 'solare' shows how the importance in his mind, held by the elements, such as the sky, the wind, the rain, and waterfalls. He also worked on sculptures, made of plastic and steel.
After separating from his wife, he decided to travel to Mexico, in order to study Aztec and Maya art, which he felt were close to Chinese Culture.

Back to Europe

Feeling more and more drawn to Buddhism, and having had enough of America which he found too superficial, Hsiao Chin returned to Europe.

1974  Patrice Trigano and Pierre Nahon organised an exhibition of his recent work in the galerie beauborg rue pierre au lard, in the 4th district of Paris.
Back in Milan, he put his research to one side, and took up his inks, and unstretched canvasses, in an attempt to feel closer to nature.

1978  Along with nine other artists, of six different nationalities, he started the
SURYA, ( sun ) movement. Seven exhibitions were then held, in Italy,Spain, Taiwan, and Switzerland. The CH'AN series ( CH'AN is Japanese for Zen ) dates from this time, and is characterised by the contrasts between the surfaces and the warm and cool colours.

Success was consolidated as the exhibitions continued, in Ferrera, Modène and Milan, and honours followed. Invited by the governments, Hsiao Chin went to Taipei in 1978, then Beijing and Shanghai in 1980, where he led conferences on Western contemporary art.

1980  He divorced.

1981 - 1988  While teaching at the Art school in Urbino, then in Turin and Milan, he continued to hold exhibitions of his own work, in Italy, Taipei , Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
With 23 other artists, of eight different nationalities, he founded the SHAKTI ( meaning energy ) movement, drawing on his creative energy as can be seen in the titles of works such as Ascension to infinity, Neptune.

1989 - 1990  The Tiananmen Square Massacre left its mark on the artist. He did a series of paintings on this theme spring in Peking - before the Tiananmen Square massacre- the Tiananmen Square massacre - a year after Tiananmen Square - the renaissance of China.

1991-1992  Following the death of his daughter Samantha, Hsiao Chin overcame his sadness by creating the series the threshold, Towards the eternal garden.

The theme recurs in the eternal garden and flight to the eternal garden.


1992 - 2005  A number of retrospectives of his work took place in Taichung (1992 ), Peking (1994 ), Taipei (1995 ), Darmstadt (1998 ), Milan ( 2002 ), Shanghai ( 2004 ), Recanati ( 2005 ), Guangdong ( 2005 ), Zhonshan ( 2005 ).
The next significant events in his private life were his marriage to the Austrian soprano Monika Unterberger, and his decision to teach at Tainan University.
The di Meo gallery, rue des Beaux-Arts 75006 Paris held a personal exhibition.

In Taiwan he was awarded the National fine Art Prize by the National foundation for culture.
Italy gave him a knighthood, making him a " cavaliere della Stella della Solidarietà italiana "  
2006 - 2009  
The Beijing national Museum showed Glory to the source, Hsiao Chin 1955-2005
The Triennial Bovisa in Milan showed a hundred paintings, in oil and acrylic, reflecting 53 years of the artist's work, entitled
Hsiao Chin Viaggio in-finito.1955-2008

2023 Hsiao Chin passed away on June 30, at the age of 88

D. Sicard
Sources : As is the case with many documents, this biography is the result of the work of numerous specialists, for whose work
references,can be found listed in the bibliography, at the end of this site.


Hsiao Chin signature


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