Hsiao Chin was born in 1935 to a distinguished family in Shanghai. His father Hsiao You-mei was a pioneer in contemporary Chinese music. By the end of 1955, Hsiao Chin cofounded the first Chinese abstract painting movement, the Ton-Fan Art Group. In the following year, he received a scholarship from the Spanish government for him to study there. Soon after in 1959, his first solo exhibition was held in the Galleria Numero in Florence. He was also an initiator of the Punto International Art Movement and the Surya International Art Movement. Hsiao has held over 170 solo exhibitions globally and his works are among the collection of prominent institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 1997, the Milan municipal mounted a major retrospective show and Hsiao was the only Asian artist chosen to participate. In honor of his achievement in arts, he was conferred the honorable title of ‘Knight of Italian Solidarity Star’ by the Italian President in 2005. Being miles away from home and having undergone the pain of losing family members, Hsiao has a very profound persistence to Zen, Taoism, religions and Western Mysticism, and is always exploring in the realm of the unknown world. As a result his works are filled with his admiration and optimism to life and to all beings.
Untitled (Lot 377) from 1965 is a work from his ‘Sun series’, which he started after being inspired by the religious paintings in Tibetan Buddhism and Mandalas in 1962. Only a handful of paintings from this series were produced from the limited period of 1963 to 1966, therefore works are very rare to come by today. The balanced composition on the present canvas is centered on the circle in the middle. With radiating straight lines extending to every direction, it draws on an image of the sun with geometric shapes. The intangible light is rendered formally, with bright colors portraying the sun as the light from the core of the universe. The green circular line and the burning red straight lines generate strong contrast in both color and line structure. The small triangular shape in light blue on the left and right hand edge of the canvas evoke continuality and an extension to the space outside of the canvas, just like the circular nature of the universe and the power of life.
The artist deliberately added speckles of white onto the colorful canvas, creating a pulverized texture that gleams. Not only does it create light and space, it also enables the flow between air and energy, transmitting a mysterious and unknown source of wonder in the vast universe. The gleaming pulverized texture has a symbolic effect in Hsiao’s works, appearing in different series from the 1950s to the 1990s, including Untitled (Lot 527), which is also on offer in the present sale. A different technique was shown in Curva (Lot 526). With its rapid and vigorous strokes, Hsiao rendered luminosity using the special effect of fei bai (flying white strokes).