Further Biographical Context for Ma Longgui
Ma Longgui was born in 1941 and was largely inspired by the 1960s. The astronomical impact of the 1960s was truly sensational across the globe. Evocative of a time stirring both hope and anger, the 1960s prompted an explosion of cutting-edge philosophies and movements, truly sensational and ground-breaking. Historically set in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly powerful impact worldwide, mainly defined by the Iron Curtain dividing Europe both physically and spiritually, and drastically 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 incredible escalation of mass consumerism also defined the era, generating new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism established the crucial idea that art should subsist in its own reality, and not try to mimic the real world. Born of a desire to erase all pre-established notions about art, Minimalism became a radically progressive movement, highly influential worldwide, with artists such as Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Dan Flavin as key actors. Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler were artists who sought to explore further some of the most fundamental ideologies of Abstract Expressionism, while getting rid of the emotional and highly personal aspect it would usually entail with it. This led to the creation of Colour Field painting, deeply relating to Minimalism. 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 established 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 sought to depict the raw human emotions often connected to reflections on death and the haunting anxiety of the meaninglessness of life.