Minsheng Lecture: The Invinsible View


Minsheng Lecture



Shao Yiyang

Post-WWII European Abstract Art

Guest: Shao Yiyang
Date: 14:00-16:00, Sunday, September 8, 2019
Venue: Muti-media Interactive Hall, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum

Anti-formalism emerged in Europe after WWII. Influenced by existentialism philosophy, left wing avant-garde artists reflected upon the modern mechanistic civilization since anti-enlightenment.

T1982-E15, 1982 by Hans Hartung

Untitled, 1956 by Pierre Soulages

European anti-formalism art comprises of stain abstraction, lyrical abstraction, art brut, and Nordic “COBRA art.” Influenced by surrealist automatism, formlessness emphasizes expressing feelings with actions and expressive techniques, excluding figurativeness and nationality. Leading figures were Hans Hartung, Nicolas de Stael, Pierre Soulages, Jean Dubuffet, Karel Appel, and Asger Jorn.

Figure, 1975 by Karel Appel

Op art popularized in 1960s also originated from the post-war Europe, influenced by the 19 century’s color perception theory, and Georges Seurat’s pointillism. “Op” is the short form for “Optical”, meaning optical effects. The leading figure Victor Vasarely used geometric forms as the basis for the effects of optical motion. Watching the eye-deceiving image is like watching a real unreality, just as the political and economic social circumstances one may find unreal.


Professor Shao Yiyang

Shao Yiyang, professor of art history and theory, especially modern and contemporary art and theory, is deputy dean of the School of Humanities at the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing. Her publications in Chinese include Art after Postmodernism, Beyond Postmodernism, and Modern European Art History since the Seventeenth Century.