''Chau Tran''
© CHAU TRAN (QING LIAN)    ''Qing Lian''

CHAU TRAN, born 1949 in southern Vietnam as a son of south-chinese parents from the province Canton, China.
chinese name Chen Ying Yi 陳英義, pseudonym QING LIAN 青濂.

"Visible feelings on paper" ®


I am a chinese, my parents escaped from the japanese warcrimes in China before the Peoples Republic of China was founded by the communist party. My parents relatives had to stay in China, because an emmigration was not possible anymore. My family has preserved our traditions, knowledge and ancient philosophy, like most chinese in foreign countries do.
When I was 14 years old my father sent me to chinese painting- and calligraphy-teachers because he wanted me to study painting and calligraphy. Reason for this was a visit to a chinese paintingexhibition with the age of 9, after which I couldn't lay the brush out of my hands. Because my father did a lot of business-travelling, I was able to study with masters and professors all over asia. After that I visited the artacademy, where I became interested in european painting and historic art. Finally I myself was teaching as a lecturer.
For me, chinese painting is easiness, harmony but also drive, concentration but also relaxation, it is between reality and dream, it is the connection between inside and outside world, it is spontaneous, but has to be perfect also, it is an instrument to express my feelings.

"I do not paint, I am playing with my feelings. Feelings do not have a touchable form, they are 'Nothing'. When I can reach this 'Nothing', I become happy. The 'Nothing' is vitality."

'Nothing' is liberating myself from negative feelings. Painting is never some kind of work, but sinking into 'Nothing', meditation. The preparation of colors and paper is the way. In my earlier traditional phase and today in the modern phase I never make drafts of paintings but arrange the paintings in my mind. I recall pictures from my memory, connect them with my inner mood and the numerous studies of nature ( landscapes, people, plants) which I already keep in my mind. This mode of painting originates from my connection to nature, my travels, my studies and my contemplation of nature, which I study in its character and its uniqueness. I am touched and convinced and in connection with the present mood I capture this feeling on paper.

"Spirit and character of nature are as important as soul and spirit inside me, as well as balance and harmony between me and the pictures, balance and harmony inside every picture."

The development from traditional to modern and abstract calligraphic pictures is my own path of life. By and by my feelings and inner world as well as nature have changed in their cycle. Remaining is my surge for mankind and nature to live in consonance. The intellectual, traditional chinese painting- and calligraphy-style (there are several styles in chinese painting) is a good possibility for me to express my inner mood. On the way to my own style the development led me to inner reflection and i'm aware now, that feeling is more important than intellect. Based on that feeling i developed with my own senses my symbolism of colours:
  • The colour Black, the colour of chinese natural black ink, transfers inner strength, expresses the spirit in the calligraphy, shows the will, physical and mental power to raise hope.
  • The colour Red now means luck.
  • Blue incarnates hope - the colour blue, the turquoise-blue of the sea, the azure-blue of the sky always raises hope in me.
  • Green is active- a circular flow of inner movement, in harmony with the circle of nature.
  • Yellow is the sentiment of joviality.
  • Lilac/Purple means romance.
  • White is 'Nothing' - selfrelease, vitality by careless emptiness.
The chinese characters in my calligraphic paintings are words and details of words of own or famous poems and stories or momentary descriptions of feelings. After choosing those words they are arranged regarding their form and meaning.
The different coloured and sized spots in my paintings represent notes from different musical instruments and simultaneous mean time, because time is a neverending composition. In the sense of connection to nature the modern and calligraphic creations are not stretched on a plain and even surface like traditional paintings. In connection with the incoming light their rough and corrugated surface forms new nuances, contoures and colour values. The white colour on white paper is supposed to occur in certain environments of light. The symbolism of colours from my point of view is supposed to awake the viewers world of feelings. Originating from my feeling of liberation from the evil aspects of old, chinese times ( I was not directly affected by this rule-based life, which led to injustice and negative consequences) my modern and calligraphic paintings are designed with an edge in free running ways in partly extraordinary formats.
I'm painting on chinese, handmade paper; this paper is completely interfused by the natural colours, which are captured forever. The colours are made of minerals, pine-smut, plants or woodstone. This artistic colour has a tradition of some thousand years and was always enhanced. The luminance of this colours can be admired in many ancient mural paintings on the silk road in china. The preparation of this colour takes hours and is a kind of ceremony for me. During this ceremony a picture developes in my mind. Together with my feelings mood this picture is expressed visibly on paper.