Giving Rise to Thoughts

Forbes F. Chung




“Wandering in the bustling city, observing the vicissitudes of life to capture feelings and enlightenment, the series of work is called ‘City’, which represents his genuine nature.”

The Hong Kong-born artist Forbes Chung might be seen as “flawed” by some, these flaws have, however, given rise to a unique and strong style in his artworks. Chung was diagnosed with dyslexia during his early childhood. Although he was often teased for writing in a wrong way because of his condition, he never sees the difference between himself and others as something “wrong”. Precisely because Chung does not put a label on things or define a concept as right or wrong, his artworks have a fluid and ambiguous quality.

In Chung’s recent photography exhibition, he aims to demonstrate the picture that all kinds of creative ideas should be connected regardless of their different media of presentation. At the same time, he is also trying to portray the idea of pure “thoughts”, which originates from the Buddhist teaching of “giving rise to thoughts”. This can be loosely interpreted as a thought that can be arisen from an encounter, and such thought is intrinsically neither right nor wrong. This sudden thought motivates him to press the shutter. Its impulsiveness is rather distinctive from that of making a painting. Through photography, Chung depicts an illusionary world. In his works, the boundary between the reality and imagination disperse. Only when we learn to step out of the frame can we express the purest sentimentality and manifest the understanding of aesthetics.


都市(189) – 燈火(6)
City(189) – Illumination  (6)
138×68cm (2018)


Known for his heavy use of Chinese ink colors, Chung has been regarded as a pioneering artist of Contemporary Chinese Abstract Expressionism. Under the influence of Buddhism and traditional Chinese philosophy, he transcribed extracts from I-Ching and the Heart Sutra onto his vibrant yet abstract paintings. Such mirrored representation has manifested a state of the River of Three Crossings, which transcends a world of tangibility into a world of fantasy. As Chung puts it, “Through the process of creation, I got to reach a state of being free of illusion, to know myself and return to the most primitive form of self.”