Art and Variation – Exhibition of Chu-Sheng Yeh’s Work

Hsien-Yiu Tsai


Chu-sheng Yeh, a graduate of the Madrid Royal Art Academy of Spain, is an avant-garde artist whose ideas have been an essential driving force in the development of modern art in Taiwan. Over the past four decades since 1980, Yeh’s thoughts in the classroom have inspired countless students in the creation of modern and contemporary art. As to the practice of art, Yeh’s pioneering attitude remains unchanged:


“Art is my language and form, which I use to express my central thoughts and to communicate.’’ ─ Chu-Sheng Yeh


Chu-sheng Yeh uses different forms of art to express the complicated feelings of individuals. His early artworks explore the relationship between human beings and the natural, living environment. These works are of two main types: painting with mixed media, and installations. Both types achieve expressive effect though the materials used.


In the past ten years, after undergoing much transformation externally and internally, and after undertaking much reflection on the twists and turns of life, he looked inwardly to search for the real meaning of art. The understanding he gained, returning to the essence of life itself, has been reflected in a series of exhibitions: in 2015, “Submerged, Bursting Forth”; in 2017, “Art and Meaning – Chu-Sheng Yeh’s Works of Art” and “Joy, Life and Art – Chu-Sheng Yeh’s Works of Art”; in 2019 “A Journey through Art – Exhibition of Chu-Sheng Yeh’s Oil Paintings” and “Trial and Rebirth – Exhibition of Chu-Sheng Yeh’s Oil Paintings”; and in 2021 “From 2012 to 2021”.


And now in 2023, we are hosting his latest exhibition “Art and Variation – Chu-Sheng Yeh’s Work.” As with previous exhibitions, this is a dialogue between the artist and art in a journey towards the rediscovery of authenticity. Chu-sheng Yeh once said: “My work has been evolving all the time, and there has been no limitation in its frame of reference. I use ideas and concepts to set up styles, rather than the other round. Metaphysical style is something we should all pursue.”


There are 22 pieces in this exhibition. They include 12 works from the “Metamorphosis” series which started from 2021 and ended in 2022. From these works we can see the challenge that the artist puts on himself. “Metamorphosis” can also be regarded as “reverse-change” because every new work challenged the form of previous work. Although at each stage we see some shape of “transformation”, it is rather more about “putting down”: withdrawing from existing forms and creative techniques, and starting over again with new ones.


As Alberto Giacometti said: “Truth seems hiding behind a layer of thin veil. After the layer is removed, one after another then re-appears. However, I am getting closer by one step every day.” When Chu-Sheng Yeh gets rid of layers of veils, what is left on the picture is the first cycle of original and initial life of the chaotic universe. Lao Tzu said: “Dao is something without shape, which seems both to exist and not exist.” This means there appear to be some shapes and objects, within a confusing universe. Lao Tzu also said: “The dao reveals operates through the opposite direction; weakness is where dao exercises and works to support.” When putting away all restrictions on form, Yeh’s principle of creation mirrors his philosophy of life: reflecting emotions, truthfully and momentarily, while returning to the origin of innocence.