Hsi Muren’s ancestral family belonged to the Mingan Banner of Chahar League in Mongolia. Her Mongolian name is Mullen Xilianbo, meaning “mighty rivers.” Her Han Chinese name, Muren, derives from her Mongolian name of Mullen. Hsi Muren was born in Chongqing City, Sichuan Province in China in 1943. When the War against Japan was over, she moved to Nanjing with her family and settled in Hong Kong in 1949. Thereafter, she traveled through many places and eventually came to Taiwan. Hsi enrolled at the Fine Arts Department, Taipei Teachers College (known as the National Taipei University of Education today) in 1956, where she received academic trainings in fine arts. It was during this time that she started releasing modern poetry and proses in and out of school.
Hsi Muren was admitted to the Department of Fine Arts, National Taiwan Normal University in 1959, where she was instructed by Chen Hui-kun, Li Tse-fan, Li Shi-chiao, Liao Chi-chun, and more. Between 1964 and 1966, she pursued further studies in oil painting at the Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium and graduated as the top student in class. In 1970, she returned to Taiwan and assumed a teaching career at the Hsinchu Teachers College, presently known as the National Hsinchu University of Education, until retirement in 1995. Hsi Muren’s painting, poetry and prose have progressed simultaneously with time. Especially since 1980, her works have grown to be more fulfilling than before. She devoted herself in the early 1980s to laser painting and served as a pioneer in high-tech art in Taiwan. She returned to her homeland, the Mongolian highlands, in 1989 for the first time and has since made a homecoming trip annually. It is by visiting her birth place that she feels even more motivated to delve into the source of life and the nomadic culture. Such is often found in her works.
As the title suggests, the author hopes to express her inner feelings by painting about nature. A Tree in My Mind is full of metaphoric imagery. A tree stands in the middle of a prairie, so isolated from the rest of the world. The sky is dim, and the tree looks lonely. But the yellowish brown color tone gives a feeling of warmth, and the light subtly shining in the far background also suggests a better world. While the content looks bleak and desolate, this painting carries a sense of hope.
Hsi Muren takes painting as her life-long pursuit, a career, and an obligation. Poetry is an inner dialogue of hers, while prose is a record of life. Hsi Muren’s painting and writing highly harmonize with one another. On the path to art, she has insisted that she be herself. Her poetry, prose and painting are full of classical romance and unworldly charm. She has never attempted to experiment anything as a modernist would do, nor has she been involved in the nativist movement in the 1970s in Taiwan. She has even kept a distance from the local awareness movement that emerged around the lifting of martial laws. She simply stays true to herself.
Lotuses are a long-time subject matter in Hsi Muren’s works. They are often presented in personified forms in a dramatic setting and light and shades. These flowers are ethereal, pure and feminine. In fact, lotuses are closely related to the artist’s childhood experience. Their archetypes are the lotuses beside Xuanwu Lake, Nanjing, China, while their stimulant is the Lotus Pond of the Taipei Botanical Garden on Nanhai Road. Lotuses are reflections of her childhood nostalgia and her sensitive mind. By objectively depicting lotus scenes and subjectively expressing her feelings, Hsi Muren attains a special sentiment in her paintings. Since her first visit to Mongolia, it seems her 40-year longing has been fulfilled. Her works created after then look much more open and firm. Her works released in 2012, moreover, suggest a major change in style.
|English title：||A Tree in My Mind|
|Medium / Classification：||Oil paints and Acrylic colors|
|Collection Unit：||Courtesy of the artist|
|Contact method for authorization：||
|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1941-1950|
|Related Work：||Dawn Lotus in the morning|