Further Biographical Context for Cui Zhian
Cui Zhian was born in 1950 and was primarily influenced creatively by the 1960s. The universal impact of the 1960s was truly astonishing across the globe. Representative of a time stirring both faith and anger, the 1960s triggered an outburst of cutting-edge philosophies and movements, truly sensational and spectacular. Historically set in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly influential impact internationally, largely defined by the Iron Curtain dividing Europe both physically and spiritually, and significantly marked by the erection 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, generating new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism developed the central idea that art should exist in its own reality, and not try to mimic the physical 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 an essential 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 areas or countries. Spatialism, for instance, was established in Italy by Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, and its ideologies embraced by the Zero group in Germany. Across Europe, the philosophy of Existentialism strongly influenced artists like Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who sought to depict the raw human emotions often associated with reflections on death and the haunting angst of the meaninglessness of life.