Serge Vandercam & Hugo Claus The Raft of the Medusa

Focus exhibition


Hugo Claus & Serge Vandercam; The Raft of the Medusa | © Philippe de Formanoira

Knowing each other already as members of the CoBRa group (1948-1951), Serge Vandercam (1924-2005) and Hugo Claus (1929-2008) get into contact again at the beginning of the 1960s.

Vandercam, who then lives in Albisola in Italy, creates a multitude of works with writers in the pure CoBRa tradition. During a trip to Denmark in 1961, he discovers Tollund Man, which brings him back to a brutal and libertarian figuration. Hugo Claus follows the work of the painter and writes a poem that is published in 1963 on the occasion of an exhibition of Vandercam in Rotterdam. The following year, the collaboration continues with a theme that can be regarded as the synthesis of the conducted research. The comrades switch roles: Claus paints, Vandercam writes.

The Raft of the Medusa refers to a news fact that Géricault transcended in his large painting of 1818-1819: shipwreck, reckonings, and cannibalism make the raft a concentrate of inhumanity which refers directly to the cruelty of the original sacrifice embodied by Tollund Man. Through the series of five paintings realised in a form of lyrical high, Claus and Vandercam bear witness to the permanence of both an insurrectional and libertarian CoBRa spirit.

This exhibition forms a diptych with the retrospective dedicated to Wyckaert

Practical informations


Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Rue de la Régence/Regentschapsstraat 3
1000 Brussels
+32 (0)2 508 32 11


Tuesday- Friday: 10:00 - 17:00
Weekends: 11:00 - 18:00

The ticket offices close half an hour before closing time.
The museums are closed on Mondays and the following days: 1/01, second Thursday of January, 1/05, 1/11, 11/11, 25/12
On 24/12 and 31/12 the museums close at 14:00
Any person entitled to a free ticket (e.g. ICOM/journalist) is to go directly to our ticketing desk.



Exhibition accessible with a ticket for the collections