The Cobra movement was formed in Europe after the Second World War. The Artists drew their inspiration primitive cultures, folk art and children’s drawings
Cobra Group formation
The group’s members, originating principally from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam (hence the name CoBrA), each came to the group from a unique artistic background. All sought a return to the primitive, a utopian regression back to a form of natural expression. This is a longing that artists have been grappling with since the Enlightenment in the mid-eighteenth century. German Expressionist groups, such as Der Blaue Reiter, likewise sought a spiritual connection with nature and did so through expressive, some might say more primitive imagery. Meanwhile, the desire to purge art of what had come to be considered ideal beauty according to Western thinking had been seen in avant-garde movements such as Dada during the time of the First World War. Whereas Dada artists were deliberately irrational through their art as a reaction against the time in which they lived, CoBrA’s tactic was to revert back to a mind-set which preceded the development of Western culture.
Who are the Cobra artists?
Soon many artists joined the Conbra movement. At the end over 40 artisis were involved with Cobra. Not only painters, but also sculptors, poets , photographers and filmmakers are attracted to the ideas of Cobra. A list of the most known members:
- from Denemark: Else Alfelt, Mogens Balle, Ejler Bille, Henry Heerup, Egill Jacobsen, Asger Jorn, Carl-Henning Pedersen.
- from Belgium: Pierre Alechinsky, Hugo Claus, Christian Dotremont, Reinhoud d’Haese.
- from The NEtherlands: Karel Appel, Eugène Brands, Constant, Corneille, Lucebert, Jan Nieuwenhuys, Anton Rooskens, Theo Wolvecamp.
The CoBrA Museum in Holland continues to act in the way that Stokis suggests through its exhibiting of contemporary artists who may or may not strive to align their practice with that of the CoBrA movement. In doing so they are creating a legacy for this group of artists, whose achievements are frequently not granted the same critical discourse as their Abstract Expressionist counterparts.