Hu Chi Chung

 

Fifth Moon Group

The Group of Chinese painters known as the “Fifth Moon Group” first became active in the mid-nineteen-sixties, the time of the great cultural revolution in mainland China where all of them were born. Although their movement began in Taiwan, their outlook from the very beginning was international. It is appropriate that their works be exhibited here in the mid western part of America where these artists gained early recognition and where one of them resides. Although the appeal of their work is obvious, anyone unfamiliar with the history of Chinese painting in the twentieth century may overlook the full significance of these paintings.


While the leading artists of the west were developing a succession of styles in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, those in China were content with perpetuating banal imitations of the past or introducing for the most part insipid interpretations of social realism. Only in Japan was there anything like a bona fide modern art movement and that was the hard won victory of a handful of wood-block artists who were active following the second world war. For the Chinese artist, the pressure of traditional styles was overwhelming and very few of the better known contemporary Chinese artists produced work which might be called modern. That was the contribution of the Fifth Moon Group and in a sense each of their paintings is also a visual manifesto. They brought Chinese painting into the twentieth century.


Some may be disappointed by the absence of any specifically Chinese subject matter or appreciably Chinese technique. Both are there- but beneath the surface. The sensitivity to materials and particularly to the traditional ones is a recurrent theme which is echoed in the adaptation of “western” materials to the style of the paintings. The art of calligraphy, the highest art in China, exerts a more profound and subtle influence. Calligraphy is essentially abstract and often only one decisive step removed from non-objective art in China and this group of painters has drawn heavily on what might be called the calligraphic tradition. As for subjects, although these painters do not give much attention to discreet subject matter it is no accident that some of the paintings are labeled by the artists as landscapes, reiterating in a lyrical way the most common and meaningful theme of traditional Chinese painting. This is Chinese painting- not in the limited sense that these works were produced by Chinese artists and frequently use material favored in China- but in their very spirit. It is spirit which has permitted the group to go on, to change and evolve in new directions, to partake of the accomplishments of their international peers and to themselves contribute to the growth of twentieth century art and the most especially to the development of contemporary Chinese painting.



Robert J. Poor,  Associate Director,  Minnesota Museum of Art

The Fifth Moon Group ( 五月畫會 ) is a group of contemporary Chinese artists who were at the forefront of the modern art movement in Taiwan in the 1960’s. Their paintings blended the bold brush strokes of traditional Chinese calligraphy with the shapes
Hu Chi Chung Fifth Moon Group
and colors of modern Western art. Leading members include Liu Kuo Sung, Chen Ting Shih, Fong Chung Ray, Hung Hsien, Chuang Che, and Hu Chi Chung.
 

Hu Chi Chung,  Painting #7309, 1973.  Oil and sand on canvas.

52” x 50”

Copyright © 2017 Hu Chi Chung. All rights reserved.

Fifth Moon Group Exhibition Catalog




Fong Chung Ray,  1975 之 16.  Ink and acrylic on paper,  43” x 60”

Liu Kuo Sung,  清 涼 池,  1968.

Ink and acrylic on paper,  29” x 52”

Fong Chung Ray Fifth Moon Group
Liu Kuo Sung Fifth Moon Group
Chen Ting Shih Fifth Moon Group

Chen Ting Shih,  ’96 - 6,  1996.

Chuang Che Fifth Moon Group

Chuang Che,  1965.  Ink and acrylic on paper.

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