Raised in a Christian household, Hsiao strove to expand his knowledge of Eastern religions and philosophies, with particular interest in Tibetan Buddhism and Daoism. “I sought to explore the concept of ‘infinity’ and ‘eternity,’” explained Hsaio. “I realised that external objects had become a restriction.” By 1958, the once figurative painter had become fully immersed in abstraction.
From Europe, Hsiao maintained an active role in Ton-Fan, organizing 13 exhibitions throughout Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, and Belgium before the collective’s dissolution in 1971. The group’s first exhibition, however, took place in Taipei in 1957. Given that the majority of Ton-Fan’s artists were born in mainland China, Hsiao was sensitive to how this first exhibition could potentially be seen as being tied to communism or the then-recently established Communist Party of China. In order to placate those fears and receive permission from the Taiwanese government to exhibit, Ton-Fan also included a few artists from Spain whom Hsiao had befriended during his travels.