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Lumière éternelle (Eternal Luminary)

Lumière éternelle (Eternal Luminary)
signed in Chinese and signed 'CHU TEH-CHUN', dated '03-04' (lower right of right panel); inscribed 'Diptyque A', titled 'Lumière éternelle', signed in Chinese and signed 'CHU TEH-CHUN', dated '2003- 2004' (on the reverse of right panel); inscribed 'Diptyque B', titled 'Lumière éternelle', signed in Chinese and signed 'CHU TEH-CHUN', dated '2003- 2004' (on the reverse of left panel)
oil on canvas (diptych)
each: 130 x 162 cm. (51 1/8 x 63 3/4 in.) (2)
overall: 130 x 324 cm. (51 1/8 x 127 1/2 in.)
Painted in 2003-2004
Taichung Healthcare and Management University, Impression France - Renoir, Guino, Chu Teh-Chun,, Taichung, Taiwan, 2005 (illustrated, p. 56-57 & back cover).
The Ueno Royal Museum & Thin Chang Corporation, Solo Exhibition of Chu Teh-Chun, exh. cat., Tokyo, Japan, 2007 (illustrated, p. 346-347).
National Museum of History & Thin Chang Corporation, Chu Teh-Chun 88 Retrospective,, Taipei, Taiwan, 2008 (illustrated, p. 186-187).
Taichung, Taiwan, Taichung Healthcare and Management University, Impression France - Renoir, Guino, Chu Teh-Chun, March 2005.
Taipei, Taiwan, Taipei World Trade Center, Art Taipei 2005 Taipei International Art Fair, April 2005.
Tokyo, Japan, The Ueno Royal Museum, Solo Exhibition of Chu Teh-Chun, June - July 2007.
Taipei, Taiwan, National Museum of History, Chu Teh-Chun 88 Retrospective, September - November 2008.

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Jacky Ho (何善衡)
Jacky Ho (何善衡) Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

"In nature I hear the voice of the universe, the voice of humanity, and the voices of East and West. In it I find a wellspring of inspiration that gives poetic meaning and feeling to my work. The act of creation is pure spontaneity; it is acting naturally without deliberate thought. As in traditional Daoist teaching, creation is 'the pouring out of the romantic feeling in your heart.'"
Chu Teh-Chun

“My canvas achieves harmoniously my creative goal: light, shape, and rhythm.” Chu Teh-Chun’s art is known for his presentation of captivating colours and delightful musicality, and since 2000 the artist showed a preference for large format works, giving him the space to run his masterful and rippling brushstrokes to elevate his pursuit of light and rhythm to the zenith. Lumière éternelle and Accord parfait (Perfect Harmony) are exceptional masterpieces from Chu’s large format period, and the former is even a rare diptych that was exhibited at Taipei’s National Museum of History in 2008, at the artist’s retrospective.

If Monet’s wished for his large format Water Lilly series to show us life’s everlasting tempo, Chu’s late-period large format works can be interpreted as an exploration into the universe itself. During this period, his creation got more and more impressive in scale, and Chu crafted triptychs or even pentaptychs of supersized oil paintings. And in Lumière éternelle, the spectacular spaciousness of the diptych let him leave behind his mark of passion, or even the dazzling glow of creation.

The French title Lumière éternelle refers to an eternal light, thus it is perhaps no surprise that this work is the prime example of Chu’s fastidious attention to light. He said that “Rembrandt’s lighting makes his paintings more vivid, potent, and tangible. I think of him as one of the greatest artists of all time, and as he was devoutly religious, the light in his paintings is like the light of faith. But I’m not religious, and I paint the light of my heart, which is also the light of my soul.” The swaths of sapphire and violet in Lumière éternelle are mysterious and demure, but from within them a glittering light shines through; with these large format works, Chu’s heart and soul resonates with the universe to achieve a level of lyrical abstraction that is without equal.

The fluidic composition and vibrant colours in Lumière éternelle may seem random at first glance, but Chu drew inspiration from nature’s beauty and identified eight elements of abstract art, which correspond to the Chinese classic I Ching’s Bagua, or eight symbols of Taoist cosmology. Heaven, Earth, Water, Fire, Thunder, Wind, Mountain, and Marsh are turned into points, lines, and planes on the canvas in a harmonious whole, representing the fundamental order of reality according to Taoist beliefs. Lao Tzu said that “Man takes his law from the Earth; the Earth takes its law from Heaven; Heaven takes its law from the Dao. The law of the Dao is its being what it is.” Man’s relationship with nature is symbiotic and harmonious, and Chu’s concern was to explore that celestial harmony, with all of the universe’s creations in connection with each other.

The glowing vein in Lumière éternelle cuts through the dark and sombre canvas, as if capturing the flash of creation during the Big Bang. Even though this painting’s style is abstract, its composition reminds one of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, with the soaring light calling forth the moment of creation – Chu’s worldview is thus frankly presented on the canvas. He once stated, “I have long sought to combine and harmonise the West’s traditional colours with the free forms of modernist abstract art, and create a vision of the universe that is boundless and infinite.” Lumière éternelle does not concretely depict the moment of creation; instead, it uses the directional and layered dances of light to point from the artist’s heart towards the splendour of the universe.

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