Wie straft wie?
Photography, 70 x 85 cm.
Materials: photo emulsion, canvas
Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. BK3962).
Several pieces in the first important collection featuring concrete-visual poetry, Zimprovisaties, display a degree of engagement. This is due to the fact that this collection gathers together works created between 1963 and 1968. Several of them tie in with the concrete and visual poetry in terms of technique, i.e., the ‘typogram’. In Wie straft wie?, De Vree uses the typewriter to draw several flags, including those of the US, Japan, the UK, France and Russia. Above the flags he has typed the sentence ‘right or wrong, it’s my country’, and centred across the middle of the canvas, in bold letters, ‘wie straft wie?’. In this poem De Vree takes aim at the nationalism and imperialism of the superpowers.
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After 1967, De Vree’s poetry became increasingly engaged and critical of society. In 1971, together with the Italian poet Sarenco, he founded