The Fifth Moon and Eastern Painting Groups: Two Major Associations involving Taiwan's Modernism Art Movement
The Fifth Moon Group was established by Liu Kuo-Sung and his alumni from Department of Fine art at National Taiwan Normal University, advocating upon the base of Chinese culture artists shall pursue an abstract variation of the time. The name, was inspired by Salon de Mai (Salon of the May) at Paris. The following members including Chuang Che, Chen Tingshi, Yang Yingfeng and Gu Fusheng started to hold exhibition in May regularly. Apart from the Fifth Moon Group, students from Li Chun-Shan's studio such as Hsiao Chin, Li Yuanjia, Hsia Yan and Ho Kan founded the Eastern Painting Group at the same time. The two associations shared similar objectives, and encouraged to unfetter all forms of art, no matter oil painting, Chinese ink painting, sculpture or print from the shackle of traditions. They admitted the significance of the concept of traditional Chinese painting and also yearned for the modernist style. Before the modernism prevailed across Asia, members from these two major associations had already participated and some of them even won the prize at Sao Paulo Art Biennial from 1950s to 1960s which was at that time regarded as the most important international communion platform for avantgarde artists. These artists were selected on behalf of Taiwan to join such grand expo, indicating a professional recognition and historical significance. In 1956, Hsiao Chin was granted the Spanish Government Scholarship and went on pursuing further education in Europe. He travelled through Barcelona, Milan, New-York, Paris, London and cities in Germany while kept on painting. Xiao reduced the boundless universe to simple colours and basic geometric forms so as to suggest Zen's view on universe and fathom the idea that all the creatures can be reduced from complication. Such artistic spirit of seeking after the pure core resonated substantially with Suprematism originated by Kazimir Malevich who reduced the painting into a "pure language" of basic geometric forms with the solely purpose of directly delivering the spiritual connotation instead of narrating stories or commenting on social issues, without restrictions of landscape painting, still life painting or any other traditional styles. The relationship between "form" and "colour" is a fairly important element in Hsiao Chin's work. II Tao Si Divide in Due (The Tao is divided into two) (Lot 503) managed to build a boundless cosmic space upon the limited plane of the canvas with a balance of two colours and confrontation of two shapes in a complementary and integrated composition. Unlike Minimalism in western painting, Hsiao Chin's works have been trying to elaborate the "artistic conception" in eastern painting, in addition to bring forth the interaction of substantial and spiritual energy and also to tactfully interpret the dualistic unity of opposites. Since 1963, under the influence of Tibetan esoteric Buddhism and Indian religion, Hsiao Chin enhanced the result of colour scheme and geometric layout. Taglio – 9 (Lot 504), with a style of hard edge painting, conveys a serene and mysterious metaphysical meditation on the cosmos. Painted in 1980s, Pennellate (Lot 507) created a space of "Zen" with the dynamic brushstrokes of Chinese calligraphy from which the audience can better comprehend Hsiao Chin's vast and unfettered state of mind. Due to Hsiao Chin's particular preference for colours, Li Chun-Shan therefore led him to the study on Fauvist artists, such as Henri Matisse and Raoul Dufy. In the first exhibition of Eastern Painting Group, his use of colour was broadly noticed as he was able to elevate these colours to their greatest extent. For instance, Chi – 278 (Lot 506) and Chi – 169 (Lot 505) demonstrate Hsiao Chin's exploration in bestowing feelings in each kind of colours.