This exhibition is a very special recounting of the history of Taiwanese art. Through 114 ink wash paintings, it presents Chen's aesthetics while also interweaving the interpersonal networks between Taiwanese, Chinese, and Japanese artists from the 1920s to World War II. Through this personal collection that serves as witness to the diverse context in which Taiwanese art developed, including the artistic atmosphere and historical milieu Chen found himself in, exhibition-goers will gain new perspectives and interpretative angles.
Chen Li-po (陳立栢), chairman of the Chen Cheng-po Cultural Foundation, found some 70 ink wash paintings stashed in a hidden compartment at the back of his father's closet in 2012. The paintings had been a gift from good friends in the art world. Moreover, according to his grandmother Chang Chieh (張捷), his father had all the creators' names obscured in order to hide the paintings and protect their identities.
Among them was Lin Yushan's (林玉山) "Bamboo and Buffalo (竹林與水牛)," gifted in 1926 when the two artists were living together as overseas students in Japan in a dormitory next to Tokyo's Ueno Park. When Lin saw his own piece in an exhibition in 1979, he was tremendously excited and re-signed his name to it, commenting on his gladness that after 53 years it was still well preserved and still stood witness to the friendship between the two men.
"From Lines to Network — Chen Cheng-po and His Collection of Painting and Calligraphy" traces a path through Chen's friendships via paintings and calligraphy works, combing through the three main axes of development of modern Taiwanese art: Taiwan, China, and Japan. Divided into five major themes — Interpreting Lines, Calligraphy Education, Zhuluo County Style, Shanghai Era, and Travels in the East — the exhibition shall present Chen's network of artistic connections across East Asia. This unique approach to interpreting Taiwanese art history is aimed at opening new avenues of exploration in research and revitalization.