Paul De Vree: Neonlicht [Paul De Vree: Neon Light]
M HKA, Antwerp
05 October 2012 - 20 January 2013
My personal view on poetry is an evolutive one: experiment in progress and as far as possible different disciplines in fusion. So I put in practice the dadaïstic rule that there is no nobility in the world of the words and no limits in the world of creation. (PDV, 1970)
PAUL DE VREE (1909-1982) occupies an important position in the history of contemporary art in Antwerp. Even before the founding of the ICC he was a pioneer of neo-avant-garde art, both at his ambitious Modernist Centre and in his interdisciplinary magazine De Tafelronde (‘Round Table’). The ICC devoted the retrospective 20 jaar de tafelronde 1953/1973 to this magazine in 1975 . It was through De Vree that it became clear that the ICC was also attentive to its own immediate prehistory.
De Vree was important to the arts in his role as a critic and organiser of exhibitions, but presented himself above all in the areas of audio - visual, concrete, visual poetry and Poesia Visiva, peripheral areas of visual art which the M HKA wants to document. De Vree created images out of poetic, social and existential insights that could be visualised on a constantly changing range of supports. He was closely linked to the Italian Poesia Visiva group and was the curator of the final, future-oriented section of the exhibition ?Klankteksten, konkrete poëzie, visuele teksten on concrete poetry at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1970 (which was also shown at the ICC a year later).
The title, Neon Light, is a reference to the column of that name in the magazine De Tafelronde, in which De Vree cast a critical light on avant-garde publications from Belgium and abroad. The ensemble includes documents, publications and work by Paul De Vree and shows the sizeable network that built up around him.
This presentation is part of a research project by the art historian Johan Pas.