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.


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