Further Biographical Context for Ma Hongdao
Ma Hongdao was born in 1942 and was primarily inspired by the 1960s growing up. In the art sphere, a multitude of significant changes were also taking place. Pop Art, embracing the culture of mass media through the works of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann, was gradually breaking down the foundations on which the creation and reception of art were built. Getting inspired from the imagery of popular culture and mass consumerism, the Pop Artists rejected the authority of highbrow art and created a ground-breaking movement, while Minimalism, simultaneously appearing, was rejecting any form of emotional manifestation and focused on art’s theoretical features – aiming for pure visual responses. Honesty and an emptiness of emotions were key concepts in the highly influential movement of Minimalism, represented by artists such as Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. Bored of the gestural elements of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalist artists focused on delivering artworks mainly gathering polished, clean lines and geometrical elements. The very first flourishing of Conceptualism was significantly influenced by the simplicity of Minimalism but went further in denying all pre-existing conceptions inherent to art, similarly to what Pop Artists were trying to attain, by uplifting popular culture to the status of high art. Several schools of philosophy profoundly influenced creatives, Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti were artists heavily persuaded by the ideas of Existentialism, who achieved worldwide success through their depiction of the human form and the lament often linked to the human condition. Internationally, a significant number of art movements resonated with the radical changes of the 1960s, often prone to their own regional distinctions. In Italy, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni created Spatialism, while in Germany, the Zero group espoused similar ideas under the leadership of Günther Uecker.