Chiang Hsun's Solo Exhibition - The Poetry, Calligraphy and Painting

Nov 06, 2010-Dec 05, 2010

Chiang Hsun


Text/ Gallery100

“More things could be remembered and forgotten,
Other than true love, which can be poetry, I have nothing else to say”

From 2009 to 2010, Chiang Hsun was resident artist at National Dong Hwa University and as lived in Hualien for a year.

He chose to take up residence in the university’s Meilun campus despite the fact that this area will be no more in one year’s time. Commenting on this the artist said: “I really wanted to get to know this old campus with its long history, in the last year before it disappears forever.”

Chiang encouraged students to record in detail their memories of the campus. “Literature is not able to do much, but it does allow us to record memories; in fact it can only record memories, unforgettable love and sorrow.” The students asked Chiang what exactly painting seeks to record.

Chiang Hsun writes poetry, paints and produces calligraphy, to depict the experiences, memories and sentimentality of life.
We are very fortunate that he accepted the invitation from Galley 100 to hold his first solo exhibition in nearly three years.
Chiang took out some pieces of canvas he bought over a decade ago in Paris and hung them on the wall of his office, and with a blank piece of Hsuen paper on his desk went in search of lines, colors and shapes. The artist ponders why he stops at every flower to take in the view and lose himself in imagination, as if encountering an unforgotten memory from a previous existence.

After summer rain showers, butterfly ginger flowers in the marshes on the bank of the Talungtung River give off a thick sweet fragrance. For Chiang this is an unforgettable olfactory memory from childhood. During the years he spent studying in Europe, he found himself longing for the butterfly ginger flowers of Taiwan. After returning home Chiang was walking past a flower shop one day when he noticed the flowers on sale and bought some to place in a flower vase in his home.

For the year he was in Hualien, Chiang visited the market early every morning and bought butterfly ginger flowers to take back to his dormitory, where he sometimes spent the whole day painting them. “At night the flowers would bloom and the ivory white, sweet buds would open up, one petal at a time, radiating a translucent whiteness, like snow or moonlight. They fluttered like the wings of a butterfly, the long thin stamen upright and swaying, boldly declaring the power of its desire.” These flowers o which Chiang Hsun is so sentimentally attached, grow in the wild and represent a fearless love of life.
Occasionally the artist examines wild lilies brought by friends - the small leaves concentrated around a thick, upright stalk. The flowers are white with a hint of light green and can be kept for several weeks before they wither and die, though even then the petals do not fall to the ground, a powerful symbol of life from the wilds of an island.
During the summer vacation the campus was quiet, as Chiang Hsun sat in his office painting lilies and butterfly ginger flowers: “Every flower left on the canvas, physically dies, in a corner of a campus that will be forgotten, as everything is turned to dust and dirt by the elements.”

Chiang recalls a few lines of a poem he once wrote: 
More things could be remembered and forgotten,
Other than true love, which can be poetry, I have nothing else to say
He wrote this with a writing brush and hung it in a corner of the former residence of doctor Tu Tsung-ming, now home to Gallery 100. “Perhaps people seeing these words will think of a campus, remember butterfly ginger flowers in summer, recall lilies or meditate not on the love and hate of 2010, but the large array of ordinary things.
Chiang Hsun and Galley 100 invite you to visit this dazzling exhibition of poetry calligraphy and paintings, to remind ourselves of the broad sweep of such ordinary things.

  • Installation View
  • Works