The exhibitions Urgent Conversations: Athens–Antwerp and Urgent Conversations: Antwerp – Athens are a collaboration between EMST and M HKA, a theoretical and visual dialogue, based on works from the collections of both museums, which includes more than 70 works structured in 22 topics.   

28.04.2017 - 07.01.2018        

M HKA, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen - Leuvenstraat 32, 2000 Antwerpen

EMST, National Museum of Contemporary Art - Kallirrois Avenue & Amvr. Frantzi Str., Athens 11743

Urgent Conversations Athens - Antwerp

(c)image: M HKA
Parlement, 1973
Photography , 55 x 70 cm
photo emulsion, canvas

Parlement shows four increasingly large human silhouettes standing next to one another. They are throwing stones at the word ‘parlement’ that has been drawn in the top left corner of the picture in the form of a semicircle, an iconic representation of a parliament. As they hit the parliament, the words explode to form ‘merdre’, a term that leaves nothing to the imagination. It is a reference to the opening sentence of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (1896). This burlesque play takes aim at all accepted values, both in society, where raw instinct governs under cover of camouflage, as in the stage’s incredible illusionism. In Parlement, the growing figures throw ‘merdre stones’ at the parliament. For De Vree, the figures are the symbol of the population’s growing aversion to the political game. A date is given under each silhouette: 1966, 1968, 1970 and 1972. A fifth date, 1989, is given next to an arrow. De Vree is here voicing his concern at the growing mistrust of democracy. Indeed, aversion to politics reached a high point over the next decade. In Belgium, the Vlaams Blok obtained its first major victory in the 1991 elections.