CHIRICO IN CAIXA FORUM MADRID

Giorgio de Chirico, “Place of Italy”, Oil on canvas, 1913.

 

 

 

Giorgio de Chirico was of Italian origin, although he was born in Greece and when very young he moved to Germany, where he entered the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. The contact with great German philosophers of the moment and his comings and goings across Italy and Germany marked to a large extent his line of work.

 

 

 

Giorgio de Chirico, “The Song of Love”, oil on canvas, 1914 (MoMA).

 

 

 

The first artworks of Chirico began to investigate an enigmatic painting, creating open spaces with elements of Renaissance architecture that take us to surreal and conceptual landscapes. These creations of the 1910s are some of the most representative of this author.

 

 

 

Educative workroom in the exhibition at Caixa Forum.

 

 

 

But the Caixa Forum exhibition also includes pieces from his intermediate work and from his last years. Chirico evolved towards a more iconographic painting in the interwar period and later opted for neo-metaphysical compositions between 1968 and 1976.

 

 

Giorgio de Chirico “Ulysses’ Return”, Oil on canvas, 1968 (Chirico Foundation).

 

 

 

Chirico was an artist of enormous influence on the surrealist authors of later times in multiple disciplines, from painting to writing. Caixa Forum has also organised a series of parallel activities to learn more about the fascinating work of this creator who has always tried to maintain continuity with the rich Italian pictorial tradition.

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.