Pedro Chorão: O Que Diz A Pintura

Pedro Chorão

This catalogue documents the exhibition Pedro Chorão – O que Diz a Pintura [What the Painting Says] (1971-2016), which was divided into two sections: ‘Corpo a Corpo com a Pintura’, at Torreão Nascente da Cordoaria Nacional, on view between 11 November 2016 and 19 February 2017; and ‘A Torto e a Direito’, which was at the Fundação Carmona e Costa, and ran from 19 November 2016 through 7 January 2017. This volume features texts by Pedro Chorão as well as exhibition curator José-Luís Porfírio alongside a collection of texts by Fernando de Azevedo, Rocha de Sousa, José-Luís Porfírio, Jorge Silva Melo, Paulo Henriques, written between 1979 and 2009 for other publications and now republished. Finally, this publication also includes an interview with the artist conducted by Alexandre Pomar.

 “I have always avoided talking about my painting because it doesn’t seem appropriate for me to talk about my own work. My work is so personal and intimate that, in my opinion, only third parties can possibly talk about it. My difficulty would commence first and foremost with the fact that I don’t know how to explain something that I find interesting and curious but has always perplexed me. When I finish a work (i.e. stop painting a picture) I always feel a certain perplexity and discomfort because I didn’t manage to do something better. It’s a kind of dissatisfaction within my satisfaction.”

– Pedro Chorão

“There is a constancy of life and independence in all this, that, from an early age, cemented great respect for the consistency and coincidence between the oeuvre and the attitude of its author, both of which are so discreet and quiet. Certain words echo across the decades, most often from very different works: dispossession, elementarity, austerity (material), incompleteness. Rocha de Sousa referred to a painting that is “always being finished” and Alexandre Pomar even called him, with unerring accuracy, the “master of the unfinished”. Hence the sense of dissatisfaction with which Pedro Chorão suggests that is a key fuel in order to continue painting.”

– José-Luís Porfírio

“In taking a closer look, we can see that Pedro Chorão’s paintings are made from almost nothing – those that are most completely made, in my opinion. Which is immediately the most difficult thing of all for a painter, and it is even harder to notice whether this is not just a cleverly created impression, but, more precisely, a stripping down of the painting, producing a meaning without any emphasis, knowing that what amounts to a great deal is reduced to the size of its own truth in the pursuit of the essential.”

– Fernando de Azevedo [1979]

“The carefree gesture, liquid paint, dry colour, a writing which is inspired by light, signs, collages and figurative outcrops – here and some of the defining characteristics of Pedro Chorão’s painting, now, yesterday, perhaps tomorrow. But the painting that he produces today isn’t made immediately, even though it may look like that. His speed of formulation only corresponds to the operator’s pretence. He reflects with delay, in the lonely silence of each period of waiting. He invents the moment, the gesture, the measure, the “random occurrence” and then assumes the conceit underpinning all this – to tell the truth, to tell his truth. The painting thus gains a short burst of time in the visual relationship with the viewer. He asks the viewer to take part in the same almost explosive truth. He conquers the transferable secrets of the various stoppage points.”

– Rocha de Sousa [1981]

“Alexandre Pomar: When you paint, is the painting programmed in advance?
Pedro Chorão: I have the painting previously defined in my mind, but it’s obvious that, afterwards, what comes out is always something different… unless I’ve managed to record photographically what I’ve thought about.”

– Alexandre Pomar, Pedro Chorão [1994]

“If Pedro Chorão’s constantly changing path is so movingly experienced – it’s because his living flesh is not what we see in the butcher’s shop, nor do his wounds bleed. Instead, he smiles about his past life, he plays, recommences, arises, resurfaces, recovers, Apollonian, austere, sensitive, he returns, without pathos, without the possibility of putting on a spectacle or narcissism. He reveals the lines and patches of a crossed life, footprints, the aerial transformation of light, the smooth transition of the present into the past, tender memories, alone and clear. Pain is the flower of the day that ends up by evaporating, into ether.”

– Jorge Silva Melo [2005]

“Since the early 1970s and until the present day, Pedro Chorão has maintained a highly rigorous ethical posture in the world of artistic production in Portugal, being opposed, even because of his own personal temperament, to exploiting the media to promote either himself or his work, feeling the exercise of painting as an intimate need of his own, with his work being generated in a discreet continuity, in a passionate relationship with painting itself, a residual romantic attitude that it is rare to find in our contemporary world.”

– Paulo Henriques [2009]

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Curated by
– 19.02.2017
Pedro Chorão – O que diz a Pintura [What Painting Says] (1971-2016)
Pedro Chorão
José-Luís Porfírio
Torreão Nascente da Cordoaria Nacional