At the heart of the major exhibition ‘De Chirico. Magical Reality’, on display at the Hamburger Kunsthalle until 24 May 2021, we find De Chirico‘s ironic paintings dating back to his experimental phase between 1909 to 1919. In this period, together with Giorgio Morandi, Carlo Carrà and his brother Alberto Savino, De Chirico laid the foundations for a ‘different modernism‘ with metaphysical painting. These paintings show how the artist, born in the Greek port city of Volos, was influenced by different European cultures, ranging from Greek myths to German philosophy. De Chirico was particularly influenced by the paintings of Arnold Böcklin, Max Klinger, Salvador Dalì and Max Ernst, who he discovered during his training in Munich’s museums. His experiences of light and spaces in Italian piazzas and the French avant-garde movements in Paris were also particularly significant.
In his enigmatic deserted cityscapes, painted with great precision, with their towers, archways, squares and building facades depicted between light and the shadows, De Chirico endeavoured to make the invisible visible, in the period of the First World War. The emptiness of the background is only broken up by the individual figurative shadows and the mannequins with their surreal appearance. These are enigmatic images, full of insight, memory and foreboding. Dreamlike images, in which time seems to stop, allowing us to get a glimpse of a virtual world that goes beyond appearances. In this world, De Chirico unmasks the ambiguity of the signs of an apparent reality.
Today, this ambiguity and early virtuality are particularly striking, as our experience of space, time and images of deserted and disturbing places have become reality in 2020, as a result of the pandemic crisis. These masterpieces therefore offer visitors food for thought, making them reflect on their own experiences of the current reality, both internally and externally.
The exhibition is being supported by the Italian Embassy in Berlin.
For more information, please visit: iicberlino.esteri.it