“[The grid pattern] is like a habit. My process and procedure are always the same. Only the content is different.”
Born Shanghai, 1947. Lives and works in Taipei
Revered in Taiwan as an art educator as well as an artist, Tsong Pu has spent decades patiently forging an idiosyncratic marriage between Abstract Expressionism and the spirit of traditional Chinese painting. He creates an astonishing variety of effects using just two basic forms: a 1-cm x 1-cm grid and one or more long lines, often diagonals. In characteristic works like White Rabbit’s A Dialogue (2010) and The Cadence of Entrainment (2010), he stamps his paint onto the canvas with a chop, the wooden block used to carry a Chinese person’s carved signature. The often hypnotic uniformity of the grid pattern deliberately imitates the weave of the canvas, and the additional lines, often raised, evoke the threads in Chinese embroidery. Tsong Pu creates a sense of dynamism by superimposing organic shapes and irregular colour patterns on the neutral tones and geometric perfection of the grid, but his overall aim is to induce a mood that is “calm and dispassionate, not emotional”.