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1956 he releases himself from figurative expression to turn towards abstraction

September 2022

On his arrival in France in 1955, Chu Teh-Chun felt com-pelled to adopt these challenging transformations. In the midst of his doubts and turmoil, his discovery of the work of Nicolas de Staël in 1956 was a turning point. He saw in it the possibility of a type of painting in which abstraction was entwined with reality. The titles of the deeply emotional paint-ings by Nicolas de Staël always referred to a tangible sub-ject: a concert, a soccer game, a view of the studio, a portrait of Anne, Antibes, etc. Abstract figurative art: it was this term—framed by specialists of Russian painting—that defined the creative path that the painter who had come from far-off China would take.

The decision to follow this direction was, however, only the beginning of a long quest, the start in-depth research undertaken before the artist found his own vision and was able to forge a specific and effective vocabulary to express it. Despite the hardships of his everyday life, he did not set-tle for easy solutions, nor adopt any approach that was not genuine. There was therefore an entire period dominated by trial and error, which, although it produced strong works, often left him racked by doubt. It’s important to note that this slow progression was also due to another, more profound reason. Chu Teh-Chun felt that he had a nearly sacred duty to delve fully into the truth of another immense tradition. Because he finally had the opportunity to be in the land where this tradition originated, where he could see so many of the masterpieces that he had only seen in poor reproduc-tions, he felt he needed to learn, patiently and humbly, from all the previous masters.

François Cheng.

“Tribute to CHU The-Chun” 2019

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