“One should always try to explore the limited physical space to the maximum and to generate maximum energy in the confines of space, to learn in a material world that transcends the boundaries of time, and in so doing to grasp the deeper meanings of life. And it is through my awkward brush work and the bright primary colours that I achieve such goals.”
— Hsiao Chin, 2015
Asian art master Hsiao Chin is celebrated as a leading figure in the post-war development and widely recognised in both Eastern and Western art scenes for his substantial contributions to the development of Chinese modern abstract art. As the co-founder of the Ton Fang Art Group, Hsiao Chin initiated and fostered the Punto International Art Movement in 1961.
1935: Born in Shanghai on January 30. His ancestral home was in Zhongshan City (Original name: Xiangshan), Guangdong province.
His father Hsiao Yumei (1884-1940) was a pioneer of modern Chinese music education and founded China's first music school, the National College of Music (now renamed as Shanghai Conservatory of Music), in Shanghai, 1927.
1949: Follows uncle Wang Hsueh-ting to move to Taiwan. Enters Taiwan Provincial Taichung Second Middle School and later transfers to Taiwan Provincial Taipei Cheng Kung High School, starts to learn woodcut printmaking.
1951: Enters the Art Department of Taiwan Provincial Taipei Normal School (now renamed as National Taipei University of Education) under the famous woodcut printmaker Chou Ying. After school, he also studies sketching under Chu Teh-chun, beginning his artistic journey from Post-Impressionism.
1952: Joins Li Chun-shan's (1912-1984) Antung Street Studio in Taipei through the introduction of Ho Kan, his senior, and formally commences his research on modern art.
1953: Studies under Li Chun-shan, whose outdoor sketching classes are held in a teahouse on Sundays, and sketches frequently on the street in Taipei with his classmates.
1954: Graduates from Taiwan Provincial Taipei Normal School and starts teaching at Taipei Municipal Jingmei Elementary School.
1955: Founds the first Chinese abstract painting group, Ton-Fan Art Group, together with Hsia Yan, Wu Hao, Li Yuan-chia, Chen Tao-ming, Hsiao Ming-hsien, Ouyang Wen-yuan, and Ho Kan in Taipei at the end of year.
1956: Receives scholarship from the Spanish government in July and soon heads to Madrid. Upon discovering the extreme conservatism of San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando), Madrid, he resolves not to enrol there and moves to Barcelona in November.
1957: Drops out of school once again due to the conservatism of La Lonja Superior School of Fine Arts (Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes La Lonja), Barcelona, and hence determines not to pursue schooling and gives up on the scholarship.
Participates in Maillol Circle (Cercle Maillol) of French Institute of Barcelona and Royal Arts Association, where he meets some of the most active non-figurative artists of the time: A. Tapies, M. Cuixart, J. J. Tharrats, J. Subirachs, A.Saura and M. Millares. At the same time, he writes a series of news articles about the avant-garde Western art for United Daily News, Taipei.
Presents his first ever solo exhibition at Mataro Fine Arts Museum (Museo Municipal de Mataró) in the province of Barcelona.
Participates in Jazz Salon in Barcelona and is selected as one of the top ten outstanding painters. He also takes part in May Salon in Barcelona, the avant-garde countrywide exhibition at that time in Spain, for three consecutive years.
Presents Ton-Fan Art Group Inaugural Painting Exhibition - Chinese & Spanish Modern Artists Joint Exhibition simultaneously at the Shin Sheng Daily News Building, Taipei and Jardin Gallery (Galería Jardin), Barcelona in November.
1958: Presents a solo exhibition at Fernando Fe’ Gallery (Galería Fernando Fe’), Madrid.
1959: Presents his first solo exhibition in Italy at Numero Gallery (Galleria Numero), Florence, followed by another solo exhibition at Il Cavallino Gallery (Galleria Il Cavallino), Venice. Moves to Milan later in the same year.
1960: Presents a solo exhibition at Senatore Gallery (Galerie Senatore), Stuttgart.
Participates in International Malerei 1960-61 exhibition in Eisenbach.
1961: Founds the Punto International Art Movement in Milan together with his friends, Italian artist A. Calderara and Japanese sculptor K. Azuma, on August 21. Between 1961 and 1967, he organises thirteen Punto exhibitions in eleven countries across Europe and Asia: Milan, Barcelona, Florence, Taipei, Rotterdam, Rome, Bologna, and Zurich, bringing 26 artists from Spain, France and the Netherlands to join the movement together.
Presents his first solo exhibition in Milan at Salone Annunciata Gallery (Galleria Salone Annunciata), Milan.
Presents solo exhibitions at Trastevere Gallery (Galleria Trastevere), Rome, S. Matteo Gallery (Galleria S. Matteo), Genoa, HILT Gallery (Galerie HILT), Basel, and Dorekens Gallery (Galerie Dorekens), Antwerp.
Participates in Grand Prix de peinture et sculpture in Monte Carlo and The Pittsburgh International Exhibition in Pittsburgh.
Meets G. Marconi, with whom he develops a long-term collaboration.
1962: Marries Italian painter Pia Pizzo.
Presents a solo exhibition at S. Luca Gallery (Galleria S. Luca), Rome.
1963: Signs a three-year contract with the prominent International Gallery of Contemporary Art (Galerie Internationale d'Art Contemporain), Paris owned by Belgian art dealer M. D'Arquian through the introduction of G. Marconi.
Participates in The 7th São Paulo Art Biennial in São Paulo, Art Contemporain at Great Palace (Grand Palais), Paris, and Chinesische Künstler der Gegenwart at Municipal Museum (Städtisches Museum), Leverkusen.
1964: Works in Paris for three months and presents solo exhibitions at International Gallery of Contemporary Art (Galerie Internationale d'Art Contemporain), Paris and Ariete Gallery (Galleria dell’Ariete), Milan.
Participates in III° premio Scipione nazionale di pittura in Macerata and International Triennial of Colored Graphic Prints in Grenchen.
1965: Presents a solo exhibition at Maribor Museum (Muzej Maribor), Maribor.
Participates in VI Mostra Internazionale di Grafica in Ljubljana.
1966: Flies to London to work for six months, where he meets Richard Lin and presents a solo exhibition at Signals Gallery, London.
Presents solo exhibitions at Il Canale Gallery (Galleria Il Canale), Venice and Falazik Gallery (Galerie Falazik), Bochum.
Participates in Musische Geometrie at Arts Society of Hannover (Kunstverein Hannover), Hannover.
1967: Visits New York for the first time and lives there until 1972. His daughter, Samantha, is born in New York in October.
Presents solo exhibitions at T. Brechbuhl Gallery (Galerie T. Brechbühl), Grenchen, Wirth Gallery (Galerie Wirth), Berlin, Marconi Studio (Studio Marconi), Milan, and Rose Fried Gallery, New York, which is the first gallery in US presenting geometric abstraction at that time.
1968: Presents solo exhibitions at The Pollock Gallery, Toronto and L. Stevens Gallery, Detroit.
Meets Mark Rothko.
1969: Teaches painting and sketching at Southampton College of Long Island University, New York; meets Willem de Kooning.
Presents solo exhibitions at Marconi Studio (Studio Marconi), Milan, Senatore Gallery (Galerie Senatore), Stuttgart, Bensen Gallery, New York, and Interstil Schroer Gallery (Galerie Interstil Schroer), Dortmund.
Participates in the 164th Annual Exhibition of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and IX Festival de arte '69’ in Cali.
Separates with Pizzo.
1970: Presents solo exhibitions at Orez Gallery (Galerie Orez), The Hague, Fonke Gallery (Galerie Fonke), Gent, Marconi Studio (Studio Marconi), Milan, and Sant’Andrea Gallery (Galleria Sant’Andrea), Milan.
Participates in III Salon International de Galeries Pilotes in Lausanne and Paris.
1971: Teaches visual theories at European Institute of Design (Istituto Europeo di Design), Milan.
Presents a solo exhibition at Gallery of Modern Art (Galleria d'Arte Moderna), Gaeta.
Participates in Italian Painting in Dublin and Belfast.
1972: Invited by Louisiana State University to give guest lectures on painting and sketching for over 5 months.
Travels to Mexico to visit Aztec and Mayan art and architecture.
Presents a solo exhibition at T. Brechbuhl Gallery (Galerie T. Brechbühl), Grenchen.
1973: Presents a solo exhibition at Schubert Gallery (Galleria Schubert), Milan.
1974: Presents a solo exhibition at Beaubourg Gallery (Galerie Beaubourg), Paris.
Participates in Asia Oggi - Rassegna di Grafica Contemporanea in Milan.
1975: Presents solo exhibitions at Municipal Museum of Modern Art (Museo Civico d'Arte Moderna), Modena and Palace of Diamond (Palazzo dei Diamanti), Ferrara.
Participates in Momenti e Tendenze del Costruttivismo in Milan.
1976: Presents a solo exhibition at Punto Gallery (Galería Punto), Valencia.
1977: Presents solo exhibitions in Milan at Palace of Tourism (Palazzo del Turismo), Marconi Studio (Studio Marconi), Milan, and Zarathustra Gallery (Galleria Zarathustra).
Participates in Grafici Italiani Contemporanei in Ljubljana and X Quadriennale Nazionale d'arte in Rome.
1978: Founds the Surya International Art Movement in Milan, which aims at promoting and provoking art and literature movements, and advocates active exchange among different fields of artistic practices to achieve a form of international consensus, together with anthropologist L. Rosso, philosopher E. Biffi Gentili, art critic E. Albuzzi, and artists including K. Azuma, R. Geiger, G. Robusti, J. Tornquist, and J. Tilson. Presents The Surya Group Exhibition in Macerata and Milan between 1978 and 1979.
Invited to return to Taiwan as the first artist to participate in the National Reconstruction Council, where he proposes the construction of art museums and the sponsorship of various international arts exchange programmes.
Presents a major solo exhibition at National Museum of History, Taipei.
Presents solo exhibitions at Lung Men Art Gallery, Taipei, Kandinsky Gallery (Galería Kandinsky), Madrid, Il Peliedro Gallery (Galleria Il Peliedro), Bagheria, Cicconi Gallery (Galleria Cicconi), Macerata, and Messina.
Participates in Grafica '78 Internazionale in Messina and Ancient Heritage, New Directions in New York.
1979: Presents a solo exhibition at Municipal Gallery of Macerata (Pinacoteca Comunale di Macerata), Macerata.
1980: Marks his first return to China after thirty-one years; participates in memorials in Beijing and Shanghai respectively for commemorating the 40th anniversary of death of his father Hsiao Yumei, and gives a talk on Twentieth-Century Western art in the Red Flag Hall of the Ministry of Culture in Beijing which is well attended.
Presents solo exhibitions at Ideogram Gallery (Galleria Ideogramma), Turin and Printmakers Art Gallery, Taipei. The latter is titled HSIAO CHIN Exhibition.
Participates in Contemporary International Original Prints Exhibition in Taipei.
1981: Presents 25th Anniversary Joint Exhibition of Ton-Fan & Fifth Moon Groups at Taiwan Provincial Museum (now renamed as National Taiwan Museum), Taipei in June with the release of an anniversary publication.
Presents solo exhibitions at Apollo Art Gallery, Taipei and Pancheri Gallery (Galleria Pancheri), Rovereto.
1982: Participates in Omaggio a P. Matteo Ricci degli artisti cinesi in Macerata and The Chinese response - Paintings by Leading Overseas Artists at Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong.
1983: Teaches artistic anatomy and picture analysis at Academy of Fine Arts of Urbino (Accademia di Belle Arti di Urbino) in Urbino.
Publishes articles under ‘Letter to Young Artists’ for Taipei’s Artist magazine for nearly two years, a total of 17 letters published.
Participates in Rigori Astratti della Ragione e Fantasia del Concreto in Ganna, 3rd Biennial of European Graphic Art in Baden-Baden, and Italian Art in Berlin.
1984: Presents a solo exhibition at Marconi Studio (Studio Marconi), Milan.
Participates in 7th Norwegian International Print Biennial in Fredrikstad.
1984-85: Teaches Art Deco at Albertina Academy of Fine Arts (Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti di Torino), Turin.
1985: Awarded National Art Collection Award of 13th National Visual Arts Prize City of Gallarate (XIII Premio Nazionale Arti Visive Città di Gallarate) in Gallarate and participates in the 13th National Visual Arts Prize City of Gallarate exhibition.
Featured in the front cover of the second issue of China Art Journal published in 1980s. (The first edition featured Zao Wou-Ki).
Presents HSIAO CHIN Solo Exhibition – CHI at The Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture, Hong Kong.
Co-exhibits HSIAO CHIN.WALASSE TING with Walasse Ting at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei.
Presents solo exhibitions at University of Messina (Università degli Studi di Messina), Messina, Punto Gallery (Galería Punto), Valencia, and Waterland Museum (Museum Waterland), Purmerend.
Teaches printmaking at Brera Academy (Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera), Milan until 1997 and becomes tenured.
1985, 1987, 1989: Participates in 2nd, 3rd, 4th International Biennial Print Exhibition in Taipei.
1986: Invited by the Chinese government to take part in 100th anniversary of the birth of Sun Yat-sen.
Presents solo exhibitions at Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center (Nikolaj Kunsthal), Copenhagen, Mercato del Sale Gallery (Galleria Mercato del Sale), Milan, AM Niemeyer Gallery (Galería AM Niemeyer), Rio de Janeiro, Proscher Gallery (Galería Proscher), Porto Alegre, and La Colonna Gallery (Galleria La Colonna), Italy.
Participates in Itinerari d'arte Contemporanea in Lisbon and Porto.
1987: Presents a solo exhibition at Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong.
Participates in 30th International Biennial Print Exhibition in Milan and Contemporary Chinese Painting at Hong Kong City Hall, Hong Kong.
1988: Participates in Contemporary Italian Artists at Art Palace, Moscow; visits Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).
Presents 30-year Retrospective Exhibition: 1958-1988 at Marconi Studio (Studio Marconi), Milan; the exhibition catalogue is published by Gabriele Mazzotta Publishing House (Gabriele Mazzotta Editore).
1989: Presents solo exhibitions at La Chiocciola Gallery (Galleria La Chiocciola), Padua, Lung Men Art Gallery, Taipei, and Contemporary Art Gallery, Taichung.
Founds the International SHAKTI(Chi) Movement in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the first “SHAKTI” was exhibited in Copenhagen, followed by a number of cities such as Aarhus, Gallarate and Milan. SHAKTI draws inspiration from the wealth of energy within nature itself.
1990: First visit to South Korea. Daughter Samantha dies in an accident in Los Angeles.
1991: Grieving the death of his daughter, stops creating before starting a new series of large acrylic on canvases under the themes such as “The Great Threshold”, “Eternal Garden”, “Beyond the Great Threshold”, expressing his new outlook on life. Thirty-fifth-year anniversary exhibition of Ton-Fan and Fifth Moon groups, Taipei.
1992: Presents solo exhibition at Fondation Sicard-Iperti, Nice, Taichung Contemporary Art Limited, Taichung, Villa Municipale Corniani, Sante Moretto Gallery and Age Gallery, Taipei Museum of Art (now National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts) in Taichung hosts Hsiao Chin Retrospective Exhibition.
1994: Retrospective exhibitions at Beijing Central Art Academy and Hangzhou Chinese Art Academy.
Presents “Beyond the Great Threshold In Memory of Samantha Hsiao” (1967-1990) in Milan and Perugia.
1995: Hsiao Chin: the Odyssey 1953-1994, Taipei Fine Arts Museum.
1996: Hsiao Chin one-man exhibition, at Dimension Endowment of Art, Taipei. Marries Austrian soprano Monika Unterberger in May. Teaches painting at Graduate Institute of Plastic Art in Tainan National University of the Arts from October to 2005.
1997: An exhibition Gathering Force on Hsiao's recent works from 1990 to 1997 organised by the Dimensions Art Center.
1998: Exhibition of recent works at Galleria II Ponte in Florence, Galerie Di Meo in Paris and a retrospective exhibition from 1958 to 1998 at Institut Mathildenhohe in Darmstadt, Germany.
2000: 7th Venice International Architecture Biannual (Taiwan Pavilion).
2002: Milan Province's Oberdan Space dedicates to Hsiao a ceramic sculpture exhibit, Milan's Mudima Foundation dedicates to him a recent large-size painting exhibit, Milan's Giò Marconi Gallery dedicates to him a retrospective exhibit of paintings on canvas, also Lattuada Gallery in Milan a retrospective exhibit of Hsiao Chin's work on paper, both from 1958 to 2001. National Fine Art Prize from National Culture and Arts Foundation, Taiwan. Won Do Forni International Print of Venice, Italy.
2003: Presents “March to the New World: 2003 Hsiao Chin” touring exhibitions at the National Culture and Arts Foundation, Taiwan and San Francisco.
2004: Presents ‘The Journey of Hsiao Chin's painting 1958-2004’ at the Shanghai Art Museum.
2005: Conferred by the Italian President C.A. Ciampi the honorable title of Knight of Italian Solidarity Star. Retires from Tainan National University of the Arts and becomes emeritus professor. Retrospective exhibitions Hsiao Chin 1954- 2004, a Journey back to the Source at Guangdong Art Museum and Zhongshan Art Museum.
2006: Invited by the China Artists Association to present ‘Glory to the Source, Hsiao Chin 1955-2005’ retrospective exhibition at National Art Museum of China in Beijing. Presents ‘Hsiao Chin Solo Exhibition’ at Lin & Keng Gallery, Taipei.
2007: Exhibits heart-theme paintings at Spazio Mazzotta in Milan and in Monsummano Terme at the Museo di Arte Contemporanea e del Novecento, in the Grand Opening and ‘Abstract China’ exhibitions at Lin & Keng Gallery, Beijing. Co-exhibits with Bingming Xiong and Wang Keping at Taiyu Beaux Arts Salon, Chiayi.
2009: Retrospective exhibition ‘Viaggio in-finito 1995-2008’ in the occasion of Triennale di Milano, Bovisa, Italy.
2010: Infinity of Chi: Retrospective of Hsiao Chin at Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts.
2011: Presents ‘Hsiao Chin 1955-2010 Art Works’ at Lin & Lin Gallery, Taipei.
2012: Exhibits in the Taiwan Biennal in National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung; co- exhibits in ‘Exploring the Wasteland – the Eight Highwaymen of the East’ at Da Xiang Art Space, Taichung, and in ‘Formless Form, Taiwanese Abstract Art’ at Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei.
2013: Receives the 11th Art & Business Award from Ministry of Culture, Taiwan, for promoting modern art.
2014: Founds Hsiao Chin International Art Foundation and settles in Kaoshiung.
Presents ‘Hsiao Chin: Eternal Energy’ at Lotus Art Gallery, Kaohsiung and ‘Hsiao Chin Infinite Energy’ at Kuo Mu Sheng Foundation, Taipei.
2015: Transports a series of 3D artworks and ceramics that made for commemorating his daughter Samantha, from Milan for ‘Eighty Years of Energy: Hsiao Chin’s Retrospect & Prospect’ at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taichung in October.
2016: Conferred by Former Taiwanese President Ma Yingjeou the Order of Brillliant Star for his lifetime contribution and achievement in art and cultural development.
2017: Presents ‘Hsiao Chin Art Archival Exhibition: The Origin’ and ‘Hsiao Chin Salon Show: 1960’s, An Important Era’ at 3812 Gallery, Hong Kong. Publishes ‘A Historical Dialogue with Art’ in July; founds the Hsiao Chin Children Art Education Center in August. Holds ‘A Historical Dialogue with Art’ Book Launches at Hong Kong Arts Center, Hong Kong and 2018 Coming Home Retrospection Exhibition Press Conference at China Art Museum, Shanghai in September. Presents ‘Eternity Preface: Hsiao Chin's Solo Exhibition’ at Central Gallery, Taiwan Kaohsiung International Airport.
2018: Presents ‘ZEN．ART Bright Light – Homage to Ascendence’ in February at Tsz Shan Monastery, Hong Kong, in March ‘To An Infinite Ascendence’ at 3812 Gallery, Hong Kong, in April ‘Spiritual Energy’ at Lotus Art Gallery, Kaohsiung and the major retrospective exhibition ‘Hsiao Chin – Coming Home’ at China Art Museum, Shanghai.
2019: Presents ‘Les Couleurs du Ch'an, Hommage à Hsiao Chin’ at Alien Art Centre in Kaohsiung.
Presents solo exhibition ‘Hsiao Chin: The Colour of Ch’an’ at 3812 Gallery Hong Kong.
Presents the major solo exhibition ‘Les Couleurs du Zen: Peintures de Hsiao Chin’, at the prestigious Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet in Paris and a parallel exhibition at Hsiao Chin Foundation, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Presents ‘New Energy: Reunification’ at Tainan National University of the Arts, Tainan
Presents the largest solo exhibition in Hong Kong, “Hsiao Chin – Infinite Universe” at Sotheby’s S|2 Hong Kong Gallery and showcases his complete series of Glass Mosaic works for the first time.
Presents ‘PUNTO‧HSIAO CHIN’ at 2019 Art Taipei with a series of important works from 1960s.
2020: In celebration of his 85th birthday, Hsiao Chin is presenting his major retrospective solo exhibition ‘In my beginning is my end: the art of Hsiao Chin’ at Mark Rothko Art Centre, Latvia from 24 April to 20 June.
Presenting ‘In my beginning is my end: the art of Hsiao Chin’ parallel exhibition at 3812 Gallery London from 30 April to 4 July.
Presents 'The Combination of New Energy', Hsiao Chin Foundation, Kaohsiung.