Further Biographical Context for Mu Yilin
Born in 1944, Mu Yilin was largely inspired by the 1960s growing up. The universal impact of the 1960s was truly astonishing across the globe. Evocative of a time inspiring both hope and anger, the 1960s prompted an explosion of new philosophies and movements, truly sensational and ground-breaking. Historically established in the context of the Cold War, which would have a highly influential 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, engendering new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism established the central idea that art should exist in its own reality, and not try to represent the real world. Born of a desire to eradicate all pre-established conceptions 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 philosophies of Abstract Expressionism, while getting rid of the expressive 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 echoed through the wave of radicalism of the 1960s also had their own distinctions and scopes, particular to different regions or countries. Spatialism, for example, 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 such as 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.