Casa AmaCord

The Wild Iris

Hosted by: Casa AmaCord


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Past Exhibition Information

May 31, 2023 - June 4, 2023

Gallery 10

Casa AmaCord

Chilean artist José Cori’s London debut exhibition, showcasing a fantastical repertoire of colourful works on paper.

Drawing is central to Cori’s practice. Defined by an ideal of colour purity, he achieves a superb wielding of vibrant tones and shades through the exclusive use of coloured pencils. Primarily figurative and often underpinned by abstraction, his striking compositions, where colours and patterns are neither juxtaposed nor blended but clearly delineated by a void, are a testimony to the artist’s draughtsmanship. Cori emphasizes that the image should be made “only through colour, line and contrast.” Revealed in a graphic work that elevates the ingenuity of drawing, his depictions come to be in motion, oscillating and vibrating.

The exhibition is titled after Louise Glück’s collection of poems, The Wild Iris (1992), a book treasured by the artist. The poetic work describes a year in and around a garden, inspired by both the author’s home garden and an allegorical one. Through a sort of conversation, bringing plants and flowers into dialogue with the gardener and the divine, it explores the significance of human experience as well as the relationship to time, not without a certain propensity for humour and irony. There is a notion within Glück‘s collection of poems which explains how artistic expression can transcend beyond the act itself. This double dimension is presented in her oeuvre as the act of weeding her garden. Like Glück, Cori’s “weeding” goes beyond the simple act of drawing. It becomes an act where he is “always either making music, reflecting or flourishing at a spiritual level.”


While the poems do not tell a single story, all echo each other, part of a great polyphony of odes rising from the garden, a culmination of the lyrical form which gives Glück’s work its structure. In the same way, Cori integrates a rhythmic quality through the making of his colourful and vibrant world. As he explains: “Each colour requires a certain palette, it’s a kind of rule, like music, each colour is a note that is indispensable for the next note in order to make a symphony.” The lyrical here is kaleidoscopic. His coloured melodies, where pulsating hues and blank delineations mark the tempo, allow us to dream with him of a universe born out of his imagination and inspired by the mundane.

Reminiscent of the work of the Nabis, Cori brings forth figures and objects, fauna and flora, to the paper. The decorative and the mundane punctuate each piece, his figures appear as silhouettes with ambiguous faces, resulting in ambivalent and oneiric atmospheres. The artist mingles ideas and styles, whereby the viewer can grasp numerous allusions to the universality of life, human experience and history. The howl of a wandering dog in the darkness of night, the whistle of a locomotive passing by or the buzzing of a bedside lamp lead the viewer to feel and hear the sounds of his imaginary. All the while, a dialogue with the Western artistic canon takes place in the likes of an understated homage to Cézanne or a discreet contemplation of Hopper. His works can almost be read as chapters from a book, dreamlike scenes with an air of déjà vu seeping out beautifully through the pages.


Image credit: (detail) José Cori, Tender is the night, 2023. Courtesy of Casa AmaCord.

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Casa AmaCord

Casa AmaCord

Casa AmaCord is an independent art advisory championing an eclectic roster of Latin American emerging and established artists and designers. Through institutional projects and curated exhibitions merging fine and decorative arts, Casa AmaCord intends to add new voices to the Art historical canon by forging international collaborations where creatives may reflect, present, and discuss their common practices and unrealised projects.