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Soul Gazing upon Life: A Solo Exhibition by Chuang Ling

Event catergory:Exhibition Square

Date of publication: 2017-12-21


Chuang Ling, now 79, has devoted all his life to photography. Driven by a strong passion for photography, Chuang started taking photographs when he was in the second grade of junior high school (1953) with a camera his father borrowed for him. From then on, photography has played a predominant role in his life for more than sixty years. During his teenage years, he was taught and inspired by his father, Chuang Yen, a life-long guardian of the cultural treasures of National Palace Museum. His elder brother Chuang Che, a famous painter, also enlightened him as to aesthetics. Chuang taught himself photography, and his perspectives on photography gradually took shape during the learning process. His expertise on forestry enabled him to look deep into nature. For more than thirty years, he worked as a news photographer at Taiwan Television Enterprise. The experience in this job greatly helped to broaden his horizon and enrich his artistic rendering.

Chuang Ling’s photographic works highlight the “trueness” and “naturalness” of images. Taken in one shot, his photographic works combine visual and spiritual beauty and are endowed with the spirit of modern art. In addition to photographic creation, he writes articles and books on photography and devotes himself to educating young artists. He has taught photograph at National College of Arts (now National Taiwan University of Arts), Chinese Culture University, Ming Chuan University and Shih Hsin University. Apart from teaching, he concerns himself with the development of photography in Taiwan. He acted as the president of the Chinese Society of Photographic Education and Society of Photographic Museum and Culture of Taiwan. For years, he has striven to found and promote National Museum of Photography (now named National Center of Photography).

Soul Gazing upon Life is a refined representation of his works after Towards Spiritual Perception at 70, a retrospective held in 2008. In this exhibition, change is made to the selection, number and arrangement of the displayed works. New works are added to show Chuang Ling’s artistic practice and characteristics. In addition to the four series, My Art Teachers and Friends, Approaching the Modern Era, Life Encounters, and Life on the Road, included in the exhibition are Life Continued and My Newborn Baby, two experimental films he made at the time when he founded Theater Quarterly with his friends in 1965. The viewers will have the chance to grasp Chuang Ling’s photographic works and get a glimpse of the development of photography in Taiwan through the films of his interviews. What is also presented is his lifelong effort and persistence in promoting photography in Taiwan.


Born in Guiyang, Chuang Ling came to Taiwan in 1948 with his father Chuang Yen, who then was on his mission of escorting the art collection of National Palace Museum. He studied at Sugar-refinery Subsidiary Elementary School in Taichung from 1949 to 1951 and then at Taiwan Provincial Taichung First High School from 1951 to 1957. During his high school days, he developed an interest in photography and started to create photographic works. He later studied at the Department of Forestry, Taiwan Provincial College of Agriculture from 1957 to 1961. In this phase, he took to taking photographs of natural images. After he was discharged from his appointment as a reserve officer in 1962, he worked at the Audio-visual Center of National Taiwan University, where he made short documentary films and shot “The Ritual of Wedding Ceremony,” an academic costume drama produced by the Department of Chinese Literature. In 1965, he was offered a place at the News Department of TTV Station and became the third news cameraman in Taiwan. In the same year, he founded Theater Quarterly with his friend, a magazine that introduced dramas and movies, both classic and new, from the west. The Theater Quarterly also organized performances of experimental theater and launches of two experimental films, which pioneered a new road for performing and screen arts in Taiwan. In 1971, he set up V-10 Groups with nine photographer friends and strove to promulgate photographic creation under no constraints and to promote a complete freedom of visual expression. Ever since 1971, he has devoted himself to education and has taught courses such as photograph and news filming at several universities. From 1994 to 1998, he acted as the president of the Chinese Society of Photographic Education, endeavoring to help the progress of photography education at colleges and in society and to broaden the cultural interaction of photography between Mainland China and Taiwan. In 2006, he invited a group of photographer and intellectual elites to set up the Committee for the Preparation of National Museum of Photography, which aimed to facilitate the founding of a public museum of photography. Society of Photographic Museum and Culture of Taiwan was accordingly founded in 2011. Chuang is currently the Advisory and Review Committee Member of the National Center of Photography that he helped to give birth to and acts as the vice president of the Association of Global Chinese Photographers.

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    Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts

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    2017-12-29 ~ 2018-02-25

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    Date of performance:2017-12-29 ~ 2018-02-25,10:00
    Event venue:Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipei National University of the Arts
    Address of event:Taipei CityBeitou District學園路1號* Click here to view site map(open a new window)

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