TSONG Pu: Illusions of the Universe

ESLITE GALLERY is pleased to present “TSONG Pu—Illusions of the Universe” from October 19 to November 17, 2019, featuring canvas, watercolor and installation works made between 2017 and 2019 by the artist. Charcoal on paper works from 2005 will also be on view. These works reveal TSONG Pu’s thoughts on minimalist painting in a post-abstract art era, as well as his imagination of the relationship between art, man, nature and the universe. This marks his third solo project with ESLITE GALLERY.

  • Exhibition Period:19 October – 17 November 2019
  • Address:ESLITE GALLERY ∣ 5F, No.11, Songgao Rd., Taipei 11073, Taiwan
  • Opening:15:00-17:00, Sat, 19 October

Since the end of the 1970s, TSONG Pu is known for his unique take on producing paintings in a geometric style using 1 cm-by-1 cm chops and an array of colors over the spectrum. His works are not projections of any particular object. He explains in his exhibition statement, “The geometric paintings I have made since the 1980s are self-explanatory. They contain a sense of warmth unfound in modernism, which is usually stripped of emotions. My work is about history, sentiments or perspectives that are outside of the mainstream.” As such, it is clear that TSONG Pu takes a rebellious stance against the extreme simplification of form proposed by classic minimalism. His new geometric paintings assume poetic names such as White dew eliminates old moon and A space, where the same dust is seen in the light instead of being “untitled.”  He uses objects of functions and insinuations such as branches, rocks, metals or industrial materials to allow more interpretations of his paintings. He also makes three dimensional installations to purposefully connect his art to reality.

This exhibition is entitled “Illusions of the Universe,” because TSONG Pu has realized that many of his considerations when making works actually pertain to physical phenomena, such as reflections and analysis of light. It is as though he is unconsciously following the order of the universe, and attempting to encapsulate the universe through a methodical, or even mechanical manner.  In doing so, he is essentially creating illusions of the universe. At the same time, his works are also microcosmoses of rich sentiments and narratives. TSONG Pu’s art, in other words, assumes an orderly and structured appearance, but passing through the surface and digging deeper, one will discover that each painting is unique in its own right, infused by the artist’s lyrical emotions and thoughts as well as embodying Eastern poetics. “Minimal geometric art is a medium for me to portray man’s illusions of the universe, just as painting is a kind of illusion,” reflected TSONG.

TSONG Pu

TSONG Pu was born in Shanghai in 1947 and came to Taiwan in 1949. After graduating from Fu-Hsin Trade and Arts School in 1969, TSONG enrolled into La Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de San Fernando de Madrio in 1973 and stayed in Spain for eight years in total. In 1981, he returned to Taiwan and helped found some spaces of contemporary art such as Studio of Contemporary Art (SOCA) and IT Park, and he also became one of the representatives of abstract art in Taiwan.
The basic unit of TSONG’s painting is square stamp, by which he expresses the movement and self-autonomy of artistic ideas in the cubic or geometric hard-edge compositions. From grid dividing, stamping, to ordering, TSONG’s stamp painting recalls the technique of pointillists, but he aims not at mimetic representation. Instead, he seeks, through his formal language, to express the dynamics that “one breeds thousands.” The sequence and movement of the stamps and the varied density of colors reflect the artist’s mindscape that is both self-regulating and freedom-loving. Recently, TSONG introduces daily ready-mades such as aluminum and paper into his stamp painting, so as to underscore the overlapping or confrontation of microscopic spaces. The ready-mades of varied textures and weights may slant on the canvas or give rise to other figures. They become the visual foci and perform changes amidst order and harmony. “Change is existence,” said TSONG Pu. He has been regulating and simplifying his ideas and seeking differences in the same. He transforms everyday things into “rhetorical language and punctuations marks, making them poetic.”