Paul De Vree


Photography, 55 x 70 cm.
Materials: photo emulsion, canvas

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp / Collection Flemish Community (Inv. no. BK3958).

Parlement shows four increasingly large human silhouettes standing next to one another. They are throwing stones at the word ‘parlement’ that has been drawn in the top left corner of the picture in the form of a semicircle, an iconic representation of a parliament. As they hit the parliament, the words explode to form ‘merdre’, a term that leaves nothing to the imagination. It is a reference to the opening sentence of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (1896). This burlesque play takes aim at all accepted values, both in society, where raw instinct governs under cover of camouflage, as in the stage’s incredible illusionism. In Parlement, the growing figures throw ‘merdre stones’ at the parliament. For De Vree, the figures are the symbol of the population’s growing aversion to the political game. A date is given under each silhouette: 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1972. A fifth date, 1989, is given next to an arrow. De Vree is here voicing his concern at the growing mistrust of democracy. Indeed, aversion to politics reached a high point over the next decade. In Belgium, the Vlaams Blok obtained its first major victory in the 1991 elections.

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