Serge Vandercam & Hugo Claus The Raft of the Medusa
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.
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Rue de la Régence/Regentschapsstraat 3
+32 (0)2 508 32 11
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