Teh-Chun Chu, Wou-Ki Zao, Walasse Ting are three internationallycelebrated ethnic Chinese artists whose works were exhibited along side big names such as Picasso, Milo and Matisse; not only that, they are also personal friends with them. Around 1950s, they went to Paris, at that time the center of arts in the world, with a rebellious heart, searching for the freedom embodied in western arts. In foreign lands far away from home, they turned out to discover the infinite possibilities of Chinese ink painting and the charm of eastern wisdom.
From Teh-Chun Chu’s perspective, the notion of ‘abstraction’ that western contemporary artists are passionate aboutis actually the essence of traditional Chinese ink painting. Fan Kuan, a painter of Song dynasty, expressed the idea that the portrayal of spirit is over the portrayal of reality in traditional Chinese ink painting, and he said:” Learning from the universe rather than other people. looking into oneself rather than looking outside.” Teh-Chun Chu’s works shiftfrom darkness to lightnesswith fluid lines and therefore creates an overall harmony from a chaotic and abstract vision.
Wou-Ki Zaoisnamed as the ‘Representative of Western contemporary lyrical abstractionism’. He emphasized ‘my picture should breath together with my heart’. In early years, Zao claimed that ‘traditional Chinese arts are mostly dead and stiff’, and with that in mind, he came to Paris to see all western masters such as Van Gogh , Francois Boucher, and Henri Matisse. However, he realized that the representation of eastern elements in those western artworks only floats on the surface; in other words it did not consider the profound meaning within a painting. He then rediscovered Chinese philosophy in his art.Visual elements such as Chinese calligraphy, dark and light ink, the composition of traditional Chinese landscape, all contribute to deliver the idea of ‘the universe and people are all existed simultaneously’ in his abstract and concentrate works.
Walasse Ting refused to categorize himself as a member of any school. This free spirit of his not only drove him to travel abroad for broader world of artistic inspiration but also shows in his artworks. Oil paintings, acrylic paintings, watercolor and ink all serve as media for his creation. His signature use of bright fluorescence colors is not constrained by the ink outline typically appears in traditional Chinese paintings, portraying subjects such as female nudes and flowers. His paintings, all in all, can be viewed as a most straightforward and dramatic representation of combination of western and eastern arts.
The masterpieces of Teh-Chun Chu, Wou-Ki Zao and Walasse Ting are like good wine made of both western and eastern ingredients. After the ferment of time, they call for good savoring.