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Article by Gianni Carbotti



Weixinism (唯心教), also known as Wéixīn Shèngjiào (唯心聖教)  is a new religious movement, born in Taiwan in HunYuao1the ‘80s of the twentieth century,proposing an institutionalized form of Chinese folk religion, based on the vast cultural and philosophical tradition of the Asian country and influenced by classical works such as The Book of Changes (I Ching) and ancient disciplines such as Feng Shui.


Though certainly for scholars of philosophy and history of religions, especially Eastern ones (in a moment in history and geopolitics in which the Far East and its affairs have become increasingly influential on the international arena), a more detailed study of this movement, its history and doctrine, is of undeniable interest,the writer here has chosen to talk about it from an entirely different point of view: that of figurative arts. Few people know indeed that the founder and leader of this religious minority, Chang Yi-Jui, known to the world as Grand Master Hun Yuan, in addition to being a prolific writer on various spiritual issues, is a painterextraordinaire, swinging between traditional Chinese fine arts and Abstract Expressionism, particularly that of US, characterized by a technique called action painting, almost synonymous with it according to many critics;so much to make us say at the sight of a picture of one of his most famous works (“The Stable Nation of the Golden Dragon”), published on his Facebook page by scholar of religions Massimo Introvigne: here’s the Taiwanese Jackson Pollock!HunYuao2


In fact, his impressive paintings made on large panels of xuan paper – produced from the bark of green sandalwood trees and considered one of the four treasures of Chinese literati’s homes - albeit deeply rooted in Asian calligraphic tradition, not only for his use of ink wash painting but also in terms of subject matters since they often depict dragons, seen as apotropaic figures and good omens, in our opinion have in common with the works of the famous American painter a technique of deeply instinctive, visceral realization; if Jackson Pollock expressed it in his dripping painting sessions in which the painter let the color drip on a canvas on the floor, for Hun Yuan has its creative momentumin public performanceswhere the artist produces his work in a few seconds, applying black ink to the sheets with a single, seemingly extemporaneous, brushstroke.Pollock1A contemporary legend wants Pollock to perform his works in a state of trance where his unconscious, let loose from inhibitory brakes, would have been able to guide the painter in his creative process, but also Hun Yuan’s artistic approach examined under this perspective - and considering the mystical orientation of which all his existence and production is permeated - can undoubtedly be considered a ritual method of ancient flavor with which the artist emancipates his vision from static thought-forms allowing it to flow freely in ink. What strikes us most is that, however distant from a spatial, temporal and experiential point of view, for both painters the physical act of creation is an integral part of their work giving permanent concretion and duration to forms seemingly irrational, otherwise unattainable.


According to informations available online, Hun Yuan’s paintings are on display in all the Weixin Shengjiao branch temples, although the largest collection is kept at present at the Weixin Museum, a museum belonging to the Weixin Shengjiao Headquarters in Nantou District, Taiwan, and, so far, no complete and representative exhibition of his work has ever been proposed in Europe or America. Every serious enthusiast of genuine and vibrant forms of expression,capable of mastering tradition and modernity in a solid artistic continuity and out of any pre-established convention or model, should hope that beyond the usual resistance and distrust - in the West and beyond - to religious minorities and their leaders and exponents, some critics or curator with a long-sight will have the strength and the keenness to imagine a large, comprehensive exhibition dedicated to this amazing artist in our country and realize it soon. Maybe in one of the many museums,often as gigantic as improperly used, real temples of a post-modernity that is adrift, emptied of any spirituality,dotting with their half-void and solemn geometries the residual spaces of major Italian cities.