Vlaamsch landschap [Flemish Landscape]
Painting, 100 x 100 cm.
Materials: acrylic paint, canvas
Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. S0234).
Starting in 1969, the Antwerp artist Wout Vercammen made panels and canvases with stenciled letters on a monochrome background. Around 1971 he developed this into 'statement art', where by means of letters, words and often-ironical phrases he expressed a societal critique.
In this piece, appearing below in the foreground are the two words ‘Vlaamsch Landschap’, written according to the old spelling in large grey letters of different sizes. The letters are so positioned that they curl their way across the black strip. In this way, they go to suggest the slope of a landscape. The words on a black background stand in shrill contrast to the white, and largest, upper portion of the painting.
In his oeuvre, Vercammen very often plays with contrasts and dualities between colors, for example, but also between form and content. He concentrates his gaze on our surrounding reality and on how we perceive and experience it. So doing, he endeavors to arrive at an awareness of time and space. In its apparent great simplicity, this piece evokes many questions. What is the context? What does he in fact mean by the words 'Vlaamsch landschap'? Exactly what landscape is he speaking of? The societal, the political or the geographical landscape? Or, rather, is it all meant ironically?
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