For its III edition, the Florence Biennale turned its attention towards the Far East, and given the Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Lifetime Achievement to Chen Cheng-Hsiung, a pioneer of Taiwanese abstractionism.
Chen is an internationally renowned artist who has exhibited his work not only in Taiwan and China, but also in France, Italy, and the United States. Born in 1935 in Taipei, he is the youngest of the three Chinese artists (Zao Wou-ki, Chu Teh-Chun) who contributed to the birth and development of abstract expressionism in East Asia. Although trained primarily in representational oil painting, since 1958 he has been exploring the style of abstract art.
Over the course of his career he has moved several times from one type of abstract painting to another, always looking for new areas to explore. Because of this constant exploration, his own artistic style has never been fixed.
His work belongs to the East Asian tradition of lyrical abstraction; he derives inspiration from primitive art and is work is clearly influenced by his own cultural heritage.
He combines pronounced and typically Oriental calligraphy lines with abstract spots of colour, creating a harmonious composition that brings together the East and the West as well as traditional and abstract artistic styles.