Fri, Jul 15, 2005 - Page 2 News List

New book looks at work of artist Chen Hui-kun

By Mao Huan-wen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Artist Chen Hui-kun at the launch of a book on his work yesterday.

PHOTO: LING MEI-HSUEH, TAIPEI TIMES

To commemorate artist Chen Hui-kun's (陳慧坤) 99th birthday on June 25, a book entitled Symphony of colors: a collection of essays on Chen's work (眾彩交響-陳慧坤藝術研究論文集) was launched yesterday.

The book-launching ceremony was held by Egret Cultural & Educational Foundation (白鷺鷥文教基金會) and the Art & Collection Group (典藏藝術家庭) at the National Cultural Association (NCA) yesterday.

Chen, the father of NCA Secretary-General Tchen Yu-chiou (陳郁秀), was born on June 25th, 1907 in Taichung and had a difficult childhood after his parents' death.

In primary school, his mentor learned that he was keenly interested in clay sculpture, and told him a story about Huang Tu-shui (黃土水), the first Taiwanese sculptor to study abroad in Japan. This inspired him to study in Japan.

The idea to study abroad was further strengthened during his high school days at National Taichung First Senior High School, when he happened to find three art magazines from France and a brochure from Tokyo Art School (renamed Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1949).

In 1927, he made his dream come true by learning to sketch in Japan.

In 1948, he began his life as a professor at National Taiwan Normal University. In 1960, Chen went to Paris to continue his education although he was already 54 years old at the time. Though he is blind in one eye and is hard of hearing, he kept painting until recently.

Chen's work successfully combines the characteristics of Western, Chinese and Japanese art. His style reflects and interacts with the diversified characteristics of Taiwanese art.

"I always see my father's passion and persistence in art," Chen Yu-shiu (陳郁秀), the artist's daughter, said yesterday at the book launch. "Art is undoubtedly his favorite subject, what he passionately believes in, and he has never changed in this aspiration."

She also thanked those professors and artists who contributed essays on her father's work for the new released book and enabled her to know her father's accomplishments better.

"The intricacies of oil paintings, Chinese ink paintings, poems and calligraphy were absorbed and mastered amazingly by Chen. He is really a grand artist in Taiwan's interwoven history of immigration and colonization," said Ni Tsai-chin (倪再沁), one of the contributing writers of the book and the main host of a retrospective exhibition of Chen's work in 2001.

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