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Nella Cohorte di De Chirico, at Colégio das Artes, Coimbra

Nella Cohorte di De Chirico is a collective exhibition that presents several of the most well-known names hailing from Colégio das Artes de Coimbra.

Giorgio de De Chirico, the Italian surrealist painter after whom the exhibition is named, is commonly described as the artist of metaphysical painting. The group on show identify themselves as De Chirico’s court, self-portraying themselves as “a cell of an army, which celebrates above all the human condition rather than war, being in an imaginary cohort, the condition of being in no cohort at all”.

Curated by Hugo Barata and António Olaio, this exhibition is distinguished by its interdisciplinarity – like De Chirico’s work, there is no order, present, past or future, there is only creation.

What does creation mean in contemporary times? There is no answer, or at least no answer that pleases or is accepted by any majority group. Art is currently in crisis, as it has always been. Is the creator responsible? Or the institutions? The public? Should the contemporary artist carry the weight of the times in their work?

In this exhibition we see artists who create individually for the group. António Olaio is showing a painting made on a circular surface, depicting a hand holding an orange. Nuno Sousa Vieira presents geometric structures suspended from the ceiling, called Nuvens. Without a material or conceptual relationship in the making of the works, they come together based on a collective conceptual relationship. The exhibition has selected the artists not by their final work, but by the way they develop it. The finitude of the work goes beyond the creative act, a concept that can be valid for all works of art, which flow into the ultimate tragedy of destruction. But, in this exhibition, we notice an intention to underline that infinite process of creation and re-creation.

De Chirico’s thought and attitude towards art and the artistic medium is the exhibition’s determining factor. A painting by the artist is displayed on a screen just at the entrance. We can analyse this surrealist painting, but, in its isolated form, it is impossible to understand the complexity of De Chirico’s body of work. His effort is materialised in the artist’s relationship with the work, valuing the conceptual beyond materiality, always expressing itself materially. A cycle of artistic conception, that only the artist himself (if he can) will fully understand.

The exhibition has the participation of Albuquerque Mendes, Alice Geirinhas, Ana Rito, António Mello, António Olaio, Armando Azevedo, Cabrita, Fabrizio Matos, Gonçalo Pena, Hugo Barata, Jo Joelson e Band of Holy Joy, José Loureiro, José Maças de Carvalho, Luís Alegre, Musa Paradisíaca, Nikita Alexeev, Nuno Sousa Vieira, Pedro Pousada, Rita Gaspar Vieira, Susana Chiocca, Tiago Alexandre, Tiago Mourão.

It’s possible to visit the exhibition at Colégio das Artes da Universidade de Coimbra until October 14.

Graduated in Plastic Arts – Painting by the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. She is doing a master's degree in Criticism, Curatorship and Art Theories at the Fine Arts Faculty of the University of Lisbon. She is co-founder and editor of Dose magazine, founder of the space of studios for artists o.estúdio in Bonfim, Porto, and currently works as a plastic artist and freelancer curator.

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