A solitary look at the difficult years of the 70s, partially obscured by the advances of the 80s, Pedro Chorão's painting continues to impress with its resistance to time —growing with time, like all works that matter.
In a way Pedro Chorão has been painting the same picture for years, finishing in one what he is going to begin in the next. The working and reworking of the same imagery defines the identity and true essence of this painter who projects into the happiness of his gestures the anguish of their expectations. Here lies the clarification of what the most profound destiny of a painter is: in each new work there is only a beginning.
Chorão is a master of the unfinished in his paintings. The meaning behind his canvases is up to the observer, asking him to participate in an artistic experience beyond the trivial social game one is used to. There is no preconceived ideas, no illustration of a certain reality: the artist is also an observer of his own works. Painting is similar to asking a question, more so than providing an answer. The observer is invited to take part in the work by questioning it as an interested and available party.
Remembering the creative journey which, throughout the 90s, illustrated the consistency of an already large body of work with renewed awareness, it is particularly gratifying to move among pictures which continue to be filled with nature, still life and landscape and an intriguing symbiosis between interior and exterior.
There are works which are, or which seem to be, always starting anew. The gestures are continued reinventions and the spots, the color areas, are the signs cast onto the paper. The observer recognises the luminous lightness of a blue which is unique to Pedro, the serene cry of an orange, the harmony between greys or browns…They are all part of the same exercise, which never turns into a system, that constantly invents itself and unlearns itself, in order to be always starting anew, with an inexhaustible freshness.
A retrospective view shows us a mature and sure of itself way of thinking, like stratified rock which constitutes a memory not only tactile (the result of the continual exercise of looking) but also factual (the idiosyncratic and autobiographical references inevitable in any artist). Above all, there is a professed allusion to esthetic and cultural genealogies which, by natural right, frame a broader artistic way of thinking (…).
The colors (some blueish-reds, greys) can only be by Pedro Chorão, even when we see them in other places: the visible brushstroke, light and at times uneven, with its own density and tempo, make him part of a restricted circle of major painters (like Guston, Johns, Arikha). These most recent works in the current exhibition have moved away from certain narrative paths and genre references (landscape, still life) that were present in the 90s, and also have left behind formal and special speculation. They are now less «decipherable», freer, more intense, more profound.
The approach towards Pedro Chorão's oeuvre doesn't overlook its truth or its relevance in relation to his works produced to date and the works that he continues to produce. What does this mean? Is this the product of monotony or consistency? Consistency of course, in an oeuvre that already spans more than 50 years, in which he has continually thought about painting. His most recent works continue without repeating anything, but are nonetheless inventive, constantly inventing, without ever forgetting the sense of doubt and dissatisfaction, the sense of "fear and trembling" that continually invades Pedro Chorão's oeuvre. This "fear and trembling" that must live inside every true painter.
A perfeição é um excesso, sabemos que não existe, procura-se e nisso reside o que Pedro define como “pintar para mim é trabalho, resolver problemas”. É o trabalho da busca e da insatisfação, uma pincelada que fecha uma ideia, outra que volta a abrir, um risco que separa dois mundos, duas paisagens que se contrariam para melhor se completarem no todo que afinal será o quadro acabado, fechando o ciclo.