In the midst of the Cold War, Shanghai-born artist Hsiao Chin (萧勤) moved from Taipei to Madrid, spending his twenties exhibiting across Europe and expanding Western conceptions of Chinese art. Hsiao pushed the tradition of abstraction to reflect upon key historical and personal moments throughout his lifetime, founding art collectives and movements while continuing to evolve his practice. With an oeuvre spanning over half a century, simply describing Hsiao's work as abstract paintings that bridged the gap between Eastern and Western cultures feels reductive. Coinciding with his 85th birthday, earlier this year, the Mark Rothko Art Centre in Latvia mounted a major retrospective, "In My Beginning Is My End: The Art of Hsiao Chin," tracing the artist's works from 1959 to the present.
"When I was exhibiting around the world," Hsiao said, "I noticed not only the lack of concern for Eastern artists in Western countries, but also the lack of knowledge and understanding." Hsiao's decades-long career has paved the way for contemporary Chinese artists in the Western art world, disrupting the limiting ideas of what Chinese art can reflect upon and look like."