Further Biographical Context for Pierre Merhottein
Pierre Merhottein was born in 1948 and was predominantly inspired by the 1960s. The universal impact of the 1960s was truly sensational across the globe. Illustrative of a time stirring both faith and anger, the 1960s triggered an outburst 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 internationally, mainly defined by the Iron Curtain separating Europe both physically and spiritually, and significantly 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 significant boom of mass consumerism also defined the era, generating new trends in marketing and advertising. Minimalism established the central idea that art should subsist in its own reality, and not try to mimic the real world. Born of a desire to eradicate all pre-established conceptions 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 figures. Minimalism became influential through the works of artists such as Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, while Pop art was a fundamental by-product of the latter, at the same time critiquing and glorifying popular culture. 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. Across Europe, the ideologies of Existentialism deeply influenced artists such as Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti, who strived to portray the raw human emotions often connected to reflections on death and the lingering angst of the meaninglessness of life.