Further Biographical Context for Ma Rutian
Born in 1941, Ma Rutian was as deeply indebted to the events of the 1960s as their formative influences. Historically set in the context of the Cold War, the 1960s symbolize an extremely powerful era which generated a significant number of disruptions and questioned the order of all things. In Europe, The Iron Curtain and the Berlin wall would eternally mark people and beliefs, while in the U.S, events such as the Cuban missile crisis and Vietnam war would forever impact generations to come. From education to gender issues and ideologies, a re-definition of social standards in Western society developed, with ground-breaking philosophies and movements emerging in a cradle of innovation. Honesty and an emptiness of emotions were key concepts in the highly influential movement of Minimalism, represented by artists like Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. Bored of the gestural elements of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalist artists focused on producing artworks mainly composed of polished, pure lines and geometrical elements. Exploring further into some of the ideas inherent to Abstract Expressionism, artists like Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland and Helen Frankenthaler practiced Colour Field Painting – strongly relating to Minimalism, with an essentially ruled-based approach, emptied of any emotional aspect. Several schools of philosophy profoundly influenced creatives, Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti were artists fundamentally seduced 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. globally, a significant number of art movements echoed 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.