Born in Wufeng in 1949, Hsieh Tong-liang entered the National Taiwan Junior College of Arts (the National Taiwan University of Arts now) in 1969. He first studied in Chinese Painting Division in the Department of Art, but later he transferred to Sculpture Division and graduated with a major in Sculptural Art in 1971. During the summer vacation of his sophomore year at the National Taiwan Junior College of Arts, he learned about fiberglass when taking a part-time job in a chemical factory. He thus started to explore how the solid but yet light material could be used in sculpture as the replacement for the traditional plaster cast. Such a technique was soon widely adopted by many other sculptors. While he was still a student, Hsieh Tong-liang had already won the Merit Award of the 25th Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition and the Education Board Prize of the 34th Taiyang Art Exhibition. His performance in sculptural art was highly recommended by teachers.
After graduating from the National Taiwan Junior College of Arts, Hsieh Tong-liang continuously worked on sculpture crafts to make a living as well as to polish his skill. Meanwhile, he made considerable effort in the artistic expression of sculptures. Between 1979 and 1981, he had won the prizes consecutively in the 34th, 35th, and 36th Taiwan Provincial Fine Arts Exhibition, and he was later exempted from the qualification process. In the early stage of his artistic practice, he began with solid realistic style. Since the 1980s until now, Hsieh Tong-liang has still been exploring the various possibilities represented by spaces, shapes, and materials, in order to establish a sculptural vocabulary which might fully demonstrate the spirit of time and the cultural implication. His works are impressive in quantity and quality. He has exhibited 12 series of works throughout his artistic career, and he is still working on more.
The artist abandons the traditional sculptural vocabulary which bases on volume but uses barbed wire to curve and to squeeze the shape. It thus becomes a three-dimensional relief – a unique sculptural style of Hsieh. In New Lover and Old Lover, the artist adopts the contrasting physical forms of the negative and the positive, or yin and yan to express the love entanglement in the human world in a simple but truthful way. Hsieh particularly keeps the original texture of the material to bring some modern touch to the work.
Sculpture is an art form requiring a great amount of effort. Therefore, artists devoted to it were fewer than other art forms in early days. In the 1970s, Hsieh Tong-liang started from traditional realistic sculpture. He was soon known for his exact shape-representation and the vivid portrayal of humans. The government-organized art exhibitions always provided him a stage. However, he was never satisfied with single style. He kept liberating himself from what he had achieved through unceasing variations to pursue the greater creativity. His artistic exploration was later transformed into a sculptural vocabulary of multiplicity which embraced figurative, distorted, semi-abstract, and abstract art. Hsieh has once mentioned: “it is not an easy path, but each step I have taken throughout the journey represents a process, a mark of my life; each series represents one particular time-and-space, as how my life experiences have been carved.”
Throughout Hsieh Tong-liang’s artistic career, the series works such as “The Realistic,” “Distortion,” “Nihility,” “Circle,” “Square,” “Ephemerality,” or “Impermanence” all base on his observation on the vicissitudes of life and the realization of the experience that nothing lasts forever. His works are full of the praise of humanity, expressed with the most appropriate sculptural vocabulary. His artistic career also reflects the transition from the traditional to the modern in the history of Taiwan’s sculptural art. Additionally, his early exploration of fiberglass as the replacement of the traditional plaster cast has greatly influenced the use of the material and improved the techniques of sculptural art. For decades, he has trained many talented sculptural artists, helping to develop the sculpture art in Taiwan.
|English title：||New Lover and Old Lover|
|Medium / Classification：||Sculpture|
|Collection Unit：||Courtesy of 02 Sculpture Space|
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|Related Exhibition：||"The Pioneers" of Taiwanese Artists, 1941-1950|
|Related Work：||Joy and Sorrow Meet by Chance Walk Along|