Further Biographical Context for Ma Quanyi
Ma Quanyi was born in 1944 and was largely inspired by the 1960s growing up. The universal impact of the 1960s was truly astonishing across the globe. Evocative of a time stirring both faith and anger, the 1960s triggered an explosion of cutting-edge ideologies and movements, truly exciting and ground-breaking. Historically set in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly powerful impact worldwide, largely 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 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 escalation of mass consumerism also defined the era, engendering new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism established the crucial idea that art should exist in its own reality, and not try to mimic the physical world. Born of a desire to erase all pre-established notions 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 actors. Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler were artists who sought to delve into some of the most fundamental ideologies of Abstract Expressionism, while getting rid of the emotional and highly personal aspect it would often associated with it. This led to the creation of Colour Field painting, deeply relating to Minimalism. The iconic contemporary art movements that reverberated through the wave of radicalism of the 1960s also had their own distinctions and scopes, particular 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 philosophy of Existentialism strongly influenced artists like Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who strived to depict the raw human emotions often connected to reflections on death and the haunting angst of the meaninglessness of life.