Political poem: (W)AFFE

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Paul De Vree

1971

Photography, 70 x 84 cm.
Materials: photo emulsion, canvas

Collection: Private Collection, Antwerp.

De Vree is sometimes very direct in his poesia visiva, refraining from adding a single alienating element to a photograph cut from a newspaper. Political poem: W(AFFE) is his attempt to unmask the combined power practices of state and police apparatuses. Since a viewer could overlook the newspaper photograph without paying attention to it, De Vree adds an ironic comment to the picture. Conversely, the words are made topical by the pithy, demagogic snapshot drawn from the mass media. Taken together, the photograph and text produce a shock in the viewer who had earlier simply overlooked the picture in the newspaper. In W(AFFE), an armed soldier is seen pursuing a young man. The brutality of this action is underlined by De Vree’s ironic comment: on the soldier’s chest he has written ‘W(AFFE)’ (weapon/ape).

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