In the mind of artist, Chih Hui Chuang (Taiwan)

AFT brings you this series of interviews with artists participating at the 10th International SURREALISM NOW exhibition by Santiago Ribeiro at the Coimbra, Figueira da Foz in Portugal. This exhibition has become the largest exhibition of surrealism of the 21st century in the world, consisting of works of painting, drawing, digital art, sculpture, and photography by 126 participant artists from 53 countries.

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Chih Hui Chuang
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AFT catches up with Chih Hui Chuang whose works include oil painting, contemporary wood carving, composite media and ceramic sculpture creations.

油畫 當代木雕 複合媒材 陶塑創作

Artist: Chih-Hui Chuang
Title: Who am I?
Type: Acrylic Painting-2016 
莊志輝-我是誰?
Emotions - Chih Hui Chuang
Artist: Chih-Hui Chuang
Title: Emotions Material: 75X34cm Acrylic on canvas 2016
莊志輝-心緒

“My paintings are inspired from the world, an ode to the heart, a reflection of the disorder of our sad world, but I believe there’s still hope and it lies in the goodness of grateful hearts,” says Chuang.

我的繪畫來自人間,歸於人心,悲人間之失序,喜人心之善性猶存。生命之可貴,在於生命本身所散發的強韌生命力。在於其多元序列之美。對人性劣根的描繪,只為照見人類本然的真實面貌。唯美使人賞心悅目,此乃人情之屬,美醜交加則近於天理大自然之屬,繪出人世本位與良知。

AFT: Tell us about your environment, what was it like where you grew up?
你長大的環境是怎樣的?
The ocean was my childhood companion, and the blue sky held my soul. I grew up in the Penghu Islands in Taiwan. The people here are simple and kind. They live by the sea and live a simple life. In the summer, the sun is so warm. In the winter, there’s a vicissitude of wind gusts. I like to run and jump and let my body take flight against the wind.
海洋是我小時候的玩伴,藍天是心靈的溫床。我成長在台灣的澎湖列島,這裡的人們純樸善良,以海維生,活得簡單。
記憶裡夏天的太陽好熱情,冬天時狂風吹拂,宛如一幅滄桑的美景,我喜歡頂著風奔跑、跳躍,讓身體短暫的飛行。
AFT: What do you think influenced your artistic eye?
你的藝術眼光是受了什麼影響而來的?

It is in my nature to be attracted to things new, to novelty. In our country, art education is our cultural heritage, we take pride in learning the skills of creators of the past. When I was exposed to the Western Renaissance in high school, I realised then that art has no boundaries, that we are no longer painting for the Gods and the rich, and that I was able to invoke my own emotions, express my inner feelings and create art.

我的個性喜歡新奇的東西,早期在我們的國家,美術教育是一種傳承,複製過去創作者所留下來的技巧與樣版。高中時接觸到西方文藝復興運動,才知道藝術沒有邊際,不再為諸神及富人而做畫,回到自身的感受而創作。

AFT: Which pieces of works did you submitted to the International Surrealism NOW exhibition and why?
請問你向這次國際SurrealismNOW展覽提交了你的那一幅作品?為何會選擇提交它?

These three pieces of work were exhibited in a world tour exhibition a few years ago. I stayed near a Hong Kong train station and for 60 days, I observed and created works on site. People seem to live their lives in a hurry, I watched a large number of passengers who entered and exited the subway station every day, they were coming and going just like innumerable cans being canned on an assembly line in a factory. I meditated and realised how precious it was to be able to think independently and live our lives the way we design; not copying success models of others or constantly pursuing material satisfaction. As an artist, it is my hope for people to find the purest versions of themselves instead of living like others, explore infinite possibilities of oneself, and explore and understand this world and this universe.

這件參展作品,是我前幾年進行世界巡迴展,停留在香港站60天,從日常中觀察並在當地創作的。我深深感受到這裡人們生活節奏匆忙,大量的乘客進進出出地鐵站,我想像著日日從火車上上下下的人們,就像一間大工廠的生產線上,無量被複製的罐頭般。 我沈思著,人能獨立思考並活出自己的樣貌很珍貴;而不是一昧複製別人成功的模式,並無限上綱的不斷追求物質與金錢。我希望,人人能找回最純粹的自我,而不是活得像別人,能挖掘自身無限的可能性,並去探索和了解這個世界丶這個宇宙。
AFT: Did you paint during COVID19? What did you do to pass time?
在這個covid19 疫症期間你有沒有畫畫?在這段時間你是怎樣渡過的?

Creation is a daily routine of my life. So I didn’t stop creating at all even during the pandemic. All the things that happen in the world, add up to enriching my creations and reflect my thoughts at the time.

創作是我生活的日常,即便是在疫期,我從不停止創作。世上所有發生的事情,堆疊出我藝術創作的養分,記錄著我生命存在的想法。
AFT: What is the one thing you strive to do with your art? Have you been successful?
你為藝術最努力做的一件事是什麼?成功了沒有?
Art to me is a concept and a responsibility that I work very hard and honestly to create. Art helps me understand myself. It helps me understand how the world operates. I can only pray that those who view my work will be able to appreciate my work, understand me and value me as a person beyond my possessions. Whether or not I’ve been successful at achieving this, what’s more important is that I continue to be in the process of creating art and I am still alive.

藝術,我認為是一種理念,一種責任。我努力並誠實的面對創作,從中更理解自己丶理解人世間的運作及最有意義的本質,並祈願觀者能從我的作品投射出什麼,例如:關照自身的處境丶擁有與價值。關於成功否,我一直走在藝術過程中,我還活著。

AFT: Is there any work that you have not finished or can’t complete? What happens then?
你還有什麼作品還未完成或不能完成的?如果不,你會怎樣了?

I think that life in itself is an unfinished creation, so my work is not yet finished but one day it will be complete.

我認為生命的存在就是未完成的創作,所以我的作品還未完成,有一天,我一定會完成。

AFT: Is health and fitness important to you as an artist? Would you care to share about your daily routine?
你認為作為一個藝術者,健康和運動很重要嗎?你能分享你每日一定做的事情嗎?

Having the right mood is very important for me. I try to remain in a calm state as far as possible – it is easier to understand when doing things. When I get up in the morning, I tend to flowers and trees, irrigate the garden, wash and feed my chicken, collect eggs, enjoy my my daily Buddhist ritual, have breakfast, and start my day of creation.

心情很重要,我盡可能把自己的心放在平靜的狀態,做起事情來比較容易理解。 早上起來看看花草樹木,幫他們灌溉丶幫他們洗滌,餵食我養的幾隻蛋雞丶撿雞蛋,每天禮佛,用早餐,開始創作的一天。
AFT: Finally, what’s your ultimate favourite thing to do?
最後,你能分享你最喜歡做的事情嗎?

Be with my family, be able to talk about what I know, and share my creation with everyone.

跟家人在一起丶聊聊我知道的事情,把創作分享給大家。
Team AFT thanks Santiago Ribeiro, Chih Hui Chuang and Yami Su-Min Yang for making this interview a reality. We also thank Eve Wong for her assistance in preparing the English – Chinese translations.

Visit the artist’s official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chc888/

Learn more about the International SURREALISM NOW exhibition: https://www.facebook.com/internationalsurrealismnow.org/

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