Visuele Poëzie [Visual Poetry]
Paul De Vree was inspired to move from a linear-literary to a spatial-visual art form by his attempt to integrate into society and attain greater immediacy and accessibility in his poems. This quest had already led him to discover the semantic, sonic and graphic-pictorial possibilities of language. In his view, the visual image was more powerful, more direct and more comprehensible than the written word. His quest also inspired his search for essences. De Vree’s visual poetry is an ‘imaging’ of direct, simple words. In his ‘imaging’ of words, De Vree would emphasise the development of the figurative element in his poetry. Words, however, would not be given up completely for non-linguistic means. Thanks to the technique of word montage and demontage, and thanks to the visual-graphic distribution of the word on the textual surface, visual images were constructed in which word sound is secondary to word image. The visual element in this poetry is intended to trigger associations or an aesthetic appreciation in the viewer. To achieve this, De Vree had recourse to the ideographic possibilities of the typewriter. For him, the mobilization of non-linguistic elements often remained limited to the use of lines and blocks of black, where both figure and text would converge semantically and semiotically, through both contrast and tautology. De Vree’s visual poetry was shown in international exhibitions, which led him to enlarge his work on canvas using a photographic process.