Cobra - Its Influence In Art
Alain Chopin de Janvry
6, Avril 1967
In the hisptory of european painting, since world war two, there is a movement whose importance has kept growing although it has only lasted officialy from 1948 to 1951.
It is called Cobra, word whose letters evoke three towns that contributed initially to the creation of the group. Copenhaguen, Brussels, Amsterdam. Cobra, however knew a much wider expansion, over flowing these frontiers as well as persisting to survive over time.
The work of Jean Raine displayed from April 10th through the 28th in the lounge of the Milberry Union is testimony of the still animating Cobra.
Jean Raine was borne in Belgium in 1927, first known as a poet and movie director, he was progressively led to search in plastic creation for the means to translate a poetry whose essence is often better embodied by graphic image than words. In the titles he gives to his works one feels the constant reference to litterature. Jean Raine considers his paintings as poems and his large Indian ink compositions, as fragments of tragedies played by actors reduced to silence and motionless in their dramatic situation. It is not in vain that the artist was precosely impregnated by the plays of Corneille and Racine and, even more, by those of Michel de Ghelderode, where violence reaches a sanguinary baroquism.
Jean Raine’s humanism is at the opposite pole from a soulless clacissism. The passions, the anxiety, which does not try to camouflage the tragic of the human condition, the place that death and night occupy in this work which is nevertheless illuminated whenever reason is likely to throw a light _ all this leads the spectator to regard the essential values of surrealism adopted by Jean Raine. With him particularly one can see how much COBRA is in continuity with the movement promoted by André Breton and understand the affinity- not on a formal level but one of deep inquiry -which such artists as René Magritte or Victor Brauner.
For Jean Raine,the act of creation brings the word perpetually in question it must indeed explore the domain of the posible untill the limit where our efforts fade away as waves on the sand, leaving but the moving and tenuous trace o foam which expires at our confines.