Further Biographical Context for Len Chmiel
Born in 1942, Len Chmiel's creative work was largely influenced by the 1960s. Historically set in the context of the Cold War, the 1960s epitomize an extremely influential era which engendered an important number of disruptions and questioned the order of all things. In Europe, The Iron Curtain and the Berlin wall would permanently mark people and beliefs, while in the U.S, predicaments such as the Cuban missile crisis and Vietnam war would forever influence generations to come. From education to gender issues and ideologies, a re-definition of social standards in Western society ensued, with ground-breaking philosophies and movements evolving in a cradle of innovation. Simplicity and an void of emotions were key concepts in the highly influential movement of Minimalism, embodied by artists like Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. Uninterested in the gestural elements of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalist artists focused on producing artworks mainly gathering polished, clean lines and geometrical elements. The very first flourishing of Conceptualism was highly influenced by the simplicity of Minimalism but went further in rejecting all pre-defined conceptions inherent to art, similarly to what Pop Artists were trying to achieve by elevating popular culture to the status of high art. Several schools of philosophy deeply influenced creatives, Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti were artists heavily persuaded by the ideas of Existentialism, who achieved worldwide fame through their depiction of the human form and the anguish often associated with the human condition. Internationally, an important number of art movements resounded with the radical changes of the 1960s, often prone to their own regional distinctions. In Italy, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni initiated Spatialism, while in Germany, the Zero group adopted similar ideas under the leadership of Günther Uecker.