The CoBrA movement (for Copenhagen-Brussels-Amsterdam), lasting from 1948 to 1951, is one of the most important post-war avant-garde movements.
Composed of Danish (Asger Jorn), Dutch (Appel Karel) and Belgian painters (Corneille, Pierre Alechinsky) and Belgian surrealist poets (Christian Dotremont and Joseph Noiret), this international movement has liberated artistic expression by overtaking the traditional opposition between figurative and abstract expression.
Eager to meet the authenticity and deep nature of human beings, sensitive to the primitive expressions free from theories, norms, and conventions, such as naive art, prehistoric art, medieval popular art, children’s art, CoBrA artists have restored spontaneity, energy, bright colors and original shapes in art.
The CoBrA movement intended to return to the original purity of Art.
After drawing irrational shapes, they were nervously painting bright colors which reflected the energy and the instinctive action of the artist. Shapes were literally flamed by colors.
As a result, their works seemed either barbaric because, according to Karel Appel,"they took place in a barbaric epoch", or childish because they were searching the childhood of art.
CoBrA artists were looking for a universal expression through experimentation, spontaneous creation, and liberation of forms and colors.
This was a return to a less reflective and playful art as if art was a feast.
Since art was no longer a business of technicians or professionals, since hierarchies or "artistic" complexes have disappeared, art became again popular, available to all.
Undoubtedly Cobra artists have developed a powerful expressive experimental language (using either drawing, sculpture, wood, earth, metal, words, sounds or writing).
Cleared from complexes, judgments, and conventions, this pure art liberated the creative energies of our deep nature, contributing to our fulfillment.
"Returning to the childhood of art by recovering our childlike soul is the timeless message of the CoBrA manifesto, at a time when aesthetic and intimate art is overwhelmed by a spectacular and decorative art.
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