Further Biographical Context for Chen Chengqi
Chen Chengqi was born in 1946 and was primarily inspired creatively by the 1960s. The universal impact of the 1960s was truly astonishing across the globe. Evocative of a time stirring both faith and anger, the 1960s prompted an explosion of new philosophies and movements, truly exciting and ground-breaking. Historically established in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly powerful impact globally, mainly defined by the Iron Curtain separating Europe both physically and spiritually, and significantly marked by the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961. The 1960s re-defined all pre-existing assumptions 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 physical world. Born of a desire to obliterate all pre-established notions about art, Minimalism became a radically progressive movement, highly influential worldwide, with artists such as Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin as key figures. Minimalism became significant through the works of artists such as Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, while Pop art was a fundamental by-product of the latter, at the same time critiquing and glorifying popular culture. The iconic contemporary art movements that reverberated through the wave of radicalism of the 1960s also had their own nuances and scopes, distinctive to different regions or countries. Spatialism, for example, was founded in Italy by Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, and its ideologies adopted by the Zero group in Germany. Across Europe, the ideologies of Existentialism strongly influenced artists such as Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who strived to depict the raw human emotions often associated with reflections on death and the haunting anxiety of the meaninglessness of life.