'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


Hsiao Chin was born in Shanghai in 1935 and is celebrated as a pioneer of modern abstract art. He is widely recognised in both Eastern and Western art scenes for his major contribution to the development of Chinese modern abstract art. His works can be found in major collections around the world including Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), M+ Museum (Hong Kong), Musée Guimet (Paris), National Galerie (Rome), Long Museum (Shanghai), Song Museum (Beijing) and MGM Chairman’s Collection (Macau). 


Hsiao Chin drew artistic nourishment from his study of traditional Chinese culture and Eastern philosophies and in the 1950s, started to explore abstract art based on his core concept of ‘Eastern Spirit’: the quest for Eastern spirituality and modern artistic expression. In 1955, with a group of artists who shared his aesthetic vision, Hsiao Chin co-founded the Ton Fan Art Group, the first post-war Chinese modern art group, which blended techniques from traditional Eastern art with Western modernism, while promoting Chinese modern art overseas. In 1956, Hsiao embarked on a series of travels in America and Europe, moving first to Madrid and finally settling in Milan, where he lived for over half a century.


Like his senior masters Lin Fengmian and Zao Wou-ki who travelled to France, Hsiao Chin was greatly motivated by Western art during his time in Europe, but developed an interest in Zen and Taoism – in particular the ideas of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu – around the 1960s. Drawing artistic nourishment from these studies of traditional Chinese culture and Eastern philosophies, he was capable of understanding and capturing the complex dialects between the void and the solid, strength and weakness. Freely transforming them into his abstract visual language, Hsiao showed great ambition to develop his own style of abstract painting that emphasised the dichotomous nature of the world, and which would be at once distinguishable from, yet reflective of, Western abstract art at that time.


In 1961, Hsiao Chin co-founded the Punto International Art Movement, the first ever international avant-garde art movement initiated by an Asian artist with the aim of promoting Eastern philosophy of ‘calm contemplation’. Whilst living and working in Europe for nearly 60 years, Hsiao Chin strove to integrate his Eastern philosophical thought with his extensive studies of Western aesthetics and his fascination in space science.


His resulting body of works mark key periods in Hsiao Chin’s life, including; 1950s Spain and the influence of Eastern philosophy; 1960s Milan, the birth of Punto and the Universal Energy series; Late 60s New York and Hsiao’s Hard Edge period; his 1980s return to Asia and experiencing modern China; the 1990s Eternal Garden series after the devastating loss of his daughter Samantha; through to 2000s where Hsiao revisited his cosmic theme, continuing his spiritual exploration into the energy of the universe. Hsiao’s oeuvre charts his journey of self-discovery and his spiritual quest for transcendence.


3812 Gallery has represented Hsiao Chin since 2016. In recent years, Hsiao Chin has held major solo exhibitions in Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre (Daugavpils), Musée national des arts asiatiques Guimet (Paris), Song Art Museum (Beijing), and China Art Museum (Shanghai). Most recently Hsiao Chin and Punto, at 3812 Gallery London in 2022, was the artist’s first return to the U.K. since 1966, up to the current day and Hsiao Chin: His Unexplored History at 3812 Gallery Hong Kong.


Artist Biography