Born in Taipei in 1935, Chen Jeng-shiung went to Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School in 1949. After graduating in 1955, he further pursued his bachelor’s degree at the Department of Applied Economics at National Chung Hsing University. With his devotion to painting since childhood, his talent for it gradually made him famous when he was at high school. In 1952, he went to Lee Shihchiaou’s studio to study sketching. His painting Vase of Flowers was later nominated in the “Tai- Yang Art Exhibition” in 1954. He started participating in “Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition” as well as “Tai-Yang Art Exhibition” in 1963 and had won the awards for three successive years. Because Chen speaks English and Japanese well, he has no trouble updating himself with the most recent art theories. In addition to reading the art-related information, Chen started writing articles about abstract art theory and concept. Meanwhile, he was more active in abstract painting. The art historian Wang Hsiu-hsiung has once described Chen as one of the pioneering painters to promote abstract painting in Taiwan. He further divided Chen’s works into four stages: 1.) The stage between realism and abstractionism; 2.) The stage of abstract landscape; 3.) The stage of secular abstraction; 4.) The stage of lively abstraction. Although Chen Jeng-shiung’s abstract painting has begun with the image of Chinese landscape painting, the vivid colors in his mature works reveal an essence beyond the Eastern abstraction. What Chen creates is a symphony with the vibration of life.
Since 1959, Chen Jeng-Shiung has started exploring the possibility of abstract art. In 1960, he finally fully developed his own abstract style. This painting is one of Chen’s early works which featuring the separation between the object and its appearance. It seems to be abstract, but viewers can still identify the shape of the houses. Through the painting, we can find the trace of how Chen Jengshiung moves from the separation between “the object and its appearance” to abstract art.
Although Chen Jeng-shiung was not an art major student when he was at school, he still fell in love with art. He started studying with Lee Shih-chiaou when he was at high school and showed his talent when he was still young. He had received awards from “Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition” and “Tai-Yang Art Exhibition.” In the late 1950s, he began working on abstract painting as well as its theory research. It was his choice when abstract painting became the trend in the post-war Taiwan. Among the artists born during the Japanese colonial period, Chen was one of the first generation artists in Taiwan to promote abstract painting. The early style of his abstract painting is similar to the abstract form of the Chinese modern painting which was developed at that time, particularly with the traces of landscape painting. Chen Jeng-shiung’s artistic practice indeed features the hidden essence of the Eastern art. However, the vivid colors and the atmosphere created by mature but yet unrestricted skill help visualize painting in a lyrical and instinctive way, which is beyond the Eastern touch in the previous works. Chen’s painting perfectly demonstrates the concept that “color is the shape.” Throughout his artistic career which lasts longer than half a century, Chen Jeng-shiung has been regarded as the marathon runner of the abstract art in Taiwan.
|English title：||Time-honored Houses|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Collection Unit：||Collection of the Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts|
|Contact method for authorization：||
KAOHSIUNG MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1931-1940|
|Related Work：||A Red Vase|