Further Biographical Context for Cai Daodong
Born in 1943, Cai Daodong was largely inspired by the 1960s growing up. The astronomical impact of the 1960s was truly sensational across the globe. Representative of a time inspiring both hope and anger, the 1960s prompted an outburst of cutting-edge philosophies and movements, truly exciting and ground-breaking. Historically set in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly powerful impact internationally, mainly defined by the Iron Curtain dividing Europe both physically and spiritually, and significantly marked by the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The 1960s re-defined all pre-existing expectations on gender, race and justice, questioned education as well as morality and selfhood – for instance through the civil rights movement and second wave of feminism, as well as student political uprisings. The significant boom of mass consumerism also defined the era, engendering new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism established the central idea that art should exist in its own reality, and not try to represent the real world. Born of a desire to erase all pre-established conceptions about art, Minimalism turned into a radically progressive movement, highly influential worldwide, with artists such as Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin as key figures. Minimalism became influential through the works of artists such as Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, while Pop art was a fundamental by-product of the latter, simultaneously critiquing and glorifying popular culture. The iconic contemporary art movements that echoed through the wave of radicalism of the 1960s also had their own distinctions and scopes, particular to different areas or countries. Spatialism, for instance, was established in Italy by Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, and its ideologies adopted by the Zero group in Germany. Throughout Europe, the ideologies of Existentialism strongly influenced artists such as Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who sought to portray the raw human emotions often associated with reflections on death and the haunting angst of the meaninglessness of life.