Further Biographical Context for Erwin Heyn
Born in 1941, Erwin Heyn grew up during the 1960s and was influenced by the artistic atmosphere of the time. Artistically, the decade began with the twin movements of Pop and Minimalism emerging parallel to each other. On one hand, Pop championed the visual culture of the mainstream and mass media, and of products and consumerism. The work of art by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann and Claes Oldenberg was inspired by the popular culture of the rapidly developing Capitalism of the United States, taking things like advertising, comic books and ideas surrounding celebrity culture as their primary visual cues. A parallel movement developed on the West Coast in California - a strain that also related to language in art, and is viewed as the initial blossoming of conceptual art. Minimalism developed a formal language with no external references, focused solely on line, colour and geometric form as key components of both painting and sculpture. The key figures of Minimalism included Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. Pop Art was a prominent offshoot of minimalism, a discipline that became renowned through the work of artists like Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley. Around the world a number of artistic movements resonated the creative concerns of the previously mentioned movements, often with regional specialisms and nuance. In Italy, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni developed Spatialism, and in Germany the Zero group under the leadership of Gunter Uecker adopted similar ideas. The influential school of Existentialist Philosophy was an important source of inspiration for creatives, with artists like Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti achieving international prominence for their idiosyncratic approaches to the human form and the angst related to the human condition.