Further Biographical Context for Chen Xiejun
Born in 1952, Chen Xiejun's creative work was largely influenced by the 1970s. The 1970s were a period of consolidation and development in the arts, most often characterised as a response to the central tensions of the previous decade. Conceptual art emerged as a key movement, and was in part an evolution of and response to minimalism. Land Art took the artwork into the spacious outdoors, taking creative production away from commodities and engaging with the earliest ideas of environmentalism. Process art combined elements of conceptualism with other formal considerations, creating mysterious and experimental bodies of work. Expressive figurative painting began to regain prominence for the first time since the decline of Abstract Expressionism twenty years prior, especially in Germany where Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz became highly renowned figures worldwide. New York maintained an influential position in the international art world, ensuring that global artists continued to flock to the galleries, bars and downtown scene in the city. Towards the end of the decade, the emerging practices of graffiti and street art were beginning to gain attention in the fine art community. Artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat were working in downtown Manhattan and ensuring that spray paint and tagging gained some validity as a fine art practice, a trend which would fully emerge and dominate during the next decade.