Further Biographical Context for Ma Zaixin
Ma Zaixin was born in 1947 and was predominantly inspired by the 1960s. Historically established in the context of the Cold War, the 1960s represent an extremely influential era which generated an important number of disruptions and challenged 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, events 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 developed, with revolutionary philosophies and movements evolving in a cradle of innovation. Honesty and an emptiness of emotions were key concepts in the highly influential movement of Minimalism, embodied 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 composed of polished, pure lines and geometrical elements. Exploring further into some of the concepts 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 expressive features. 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 anguish often associated with the human condition. Internationally, an important 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 embraced similar ideas under the leadership of Günther Uecker.