Further Biographical Context for Chen Weijian
Chen Weijian was born in 1955, grew up during the 1970s and was inspired by the artistic culture of the time. Conceptualism is often perceived as a reaction to Minimalism, and the dominant art movement of the 1970s, challenging the boundaries of art with its revolutionary features. The movements that ensued were all characteristic of a strong desire to progress and consolidate the art world, in response to the tensions of the previous 1960s. Process art branched out from Conceptualism, highlighting some of its most crucial aspects, but going further in creating mysterious and experimental artistic journeys, while Land Art brought creation to the outdoors, initiating early ideas of environmentalism. In Germany, Expressive figure painting was given another chance for the first time since the weakening of Abstract Expressionism almost two decades, the genre reclaimed its prominence through the brushstrokes of Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz. Most of the critically acclaimed artists from the 1960s, who had gained success and popularity, kept their status in the 1970s. Andy Warhol was a key figure of those two decades, and in the 1970s started to experiment with film and magazine publishing, thus engaging in a cross-cultural activity that no other visual artist of such standard had previously undertaken. By doing so, he secured his status as a celebrity. Street art started to emerge as a true and accepted form of art towards the end of the 1970s. Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring were pioneers in demonstrating that their artworks could exist at the same time in art galleries and on city walls. Fuelled by graffiti art, street art from its earliest days showed that it could endure in a constant flux of self-transformation, endlessly shifting the boundaries of modern art, becoming a truly ground-breaking artistic genre.