Niet nuttig voorwerp [Useless object]

Maurice De Clercq


Object, 41 x 38 x 8.5 cm.
Materials: kaolin, chair seat

Collection: Courtesy of the artist, reconstruction M HKA.

The East-Flanders native Maurice De Clercq (b. 1918) first paints informal works – forms such as root structures and oil spots – and then switches at the end of the Fifties to produce gray, monochrome matière painting. The next change in his work – illustrated by useless object – may be explained via his friendship with Manzoni. The latter’s brutal irony helped De Clercq free himself from the spiritualism that had so taken a whole generation of artists and critics. For his useless object, he disassembles an unremarkable chair with woven seat and transforms its rustic brown and natural materials, using the same technique as Manzoni employs for his 'achromatics'. A layer of porcelain clay dissolves everything in radical white. A symbol par excellence of the tame, everyday Flanders was definitively desecrated.

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