CoBrA


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2016, Acrylic on concrete, 40 cm
Following the visit of the CoBrA museum in Amstelveen
From South Holland, where we have already seen some CoBrA work in the Schiedam Stedelijk Museum, we go to Amstelveen, the CoBrA Museum of Modern Art.
Upstairs everything is arranged for the exhibition entitled Miró and CoBrA. The works hang next to each other and it is very good to see that the CoBrA members, definitely a generation older, were inspired by the surrealists. That inspiration, not to say that they copied each other, because sometimes it seems so, also applies in reverse. Miró’s form language resembles the language of CoBrA. I think of the legendary statement of Karel Appel: 'I just mess around a bit’. This is going back to the primal, the children's drawings, primitive representations. But when I see the paintings hanging here in the museum, I start wondering again. The artists have messed around thoughtfully and professionally, and not just a little bit. In 2016, ten years after his death, there has been a resurgence in the appreciation of the work of Karel Appel. After the Pompidou Centre, Washington and Munich, the Municipal Museum in The Hague also follows with a retrospective. On TV, the presenter says that Appel’s image will be reinstated despite his words ‘I just mess around a bit’. Arts Presenter Jasper Krabbe then says: ‘He copied drawings of African and mentally ill children and made sketches beforehand which are exactly like the paintings’. But it was already known that the CoBrA members wanted to paint naïve African art. Perhaps he messed around a bit in the sketches too. Then you see him with blobs of paint, just messing around, in a piece of film by Jan Vrijman. This does not deal with the words of the presenter, on the contrary. Karel Appel would turn in his grave.
photo 2: 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 80x100 cm
photo 3: Miró; Woman and birds II 1969 Oil on canvas