Further Biographical Context for Jacob Afolabi
Born in 1940, Jacob Afolabi grew up during the 1960s and was inspired by the artistic culture of the time. The astronomical impact of the 1960s was truly sensational across the globe. Representative of a time inspiring both faith and anger, the 1960s prompted an outburst of cutting-edge ideologies and movements, truly exciting and ground-breaking. Historically established in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly influential impact internationally, mainly defined by the Iron Curtain separating Europe both physically and spiritually, and significantly marked by the construction 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 incredible boom of mass consumerism also defined the era, generating new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism developed the crucial idea that art should subsist 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 significant through the works of artists such as Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, while Pop art was a fundamental by-product of the latter, simultaneously critiquing and glorifying popular culture. The iconic contemporary art movements that echoed 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 founded in Italy by Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni, and its ideologies embraced by the Zero group in Germany. Throughout Europe, the ideologies of Existentialism deeply influenced artists like Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who strived to depict the raw human emotions often associated with reflections on death and the haunting angst of the meaninglessness of life.