Chia-Ning HSU

ESLITE GALLERY is pleased to present a solo exhibition of young Taiwanese artist Chia-Ning HSU on February 12, 2022. Featuring 21 paintings, most of which created in 2021, the exhibition revolves around the theme of “body” and “memory”. In addition to expounding on homesickness and her memory of time and space, HSU also depicts the sense of spatial oppression felt through her body when the pandemic alert was raised to level 3 in Taiwan in 2021.

  • Exhibition Period:12 February – 26 February 2022
  • Address:ESLITE GALLERY ∣ B1, No. 88, Yanchang Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 110055, Taiwan

Born in Taoyuan, Taiwan in 1996, Chia-Ning HSU is currently pursuing her M.F.A. at the Taipei National University of the Arts. Trained in fine arts, painting is her medium of choice. As she continues to delve deeper into her art, the rich color layers and unique luster of her oil paintings made possible through the stacked layers of paint over time especially resonate with the “body” and “memory” she is concerned with.

“Memory has no form, but is stored in the body and cannot be disengaged.” Chia-Ning HSU explores the fabrics of time, space and objects through “traces left in the body by memory”, and taps into her physical experiences accrued in daily life to become aware of and locate the faint yet resilient memories stored in the body. Her works Warmth and Something We Familiar to are about the intimacy with her family. The former uses snugly and soft cotton fabrics and text embroidery to convey her feeling of “home”; the latter uses chiffon, a fabric that her grandma often wears, as the curtain tiebacks to express the feeling of family nostalgia. The different texture of the fabrics evoke different visual experiences.

HSU describes her body as “a bubble made of tulle”. The air that blows the bubble up into a full-bodied shape is the time and life that keep moving forward. The “tulle bubble” is filled with everything that life has to offer, as well as new emotions and experiences, all the while leaving traces of memories. Therefore, she uses light and fluid brushstrokes to express the lightness of memory and the tulle-like existence of the body.

During the COVID level-3 alert period last May, HSU felt as though her body’s senses were amplified due to the long hours of staying in her room, and she became intensely aware of the oppressive feeling of confinement in space. The Month When the Sky Disappeared is a depiction of her body memory during that time. The work is actually composed of 31 small paintings representing each day of May, illustrating the changes in light and shadow on the blackout curtains in the room. What’s particularly special about this work is the thickness of these 31 small paintings gradually increases until it eventually becomes as thick as an object, reflecting her feelings at the time. “The sky was getting farther and farther away from me. The blackout curtains seemed to be getting thicker by the day, like a concrete wall blocking the sky and the outside world.”

Through her paintings, Chia-Ning HSU is not only responding to her feelings about the world, but she is also exploring the particularity of painting as a medium. When the body’s memories are called forth—the weight and texture of the paint used, the feel of the brush against the canvas, the direction of the brushstrokes—these are a painter’s most direct feelings. It is in this delicately light and slow-moving layer-by-layer process that memories are fetched.