Wout Vercammen

1938 - 2018

Born in Antwerp (BE), works in Antwerp (BE).

Wout Vercammen (1938-2018) is an Antwerp artist who took his Belgian nationality and turned it into a readymade product. He patents the Belgian national flag as an artistic concept and employs this striking colour pattern in much of his graphic art.

As a young artist, he studies to become a typographer, and develops a special interest in the turbulent events of the time, both in contemporary art and on the political stage. During the early sixties, he is closely involved with the happenings and colourful, carnival-like street performances orchestrated in Antwerp's city centre. By using images and text collages, he gradually develops his own unique form of expression. He creates letter and action paintings that form a critique on society – mostly in oil or acrylic on canvas – with a very direct and often humorous imagery. Subversive thinking and cynical understatements are frequently featured in his works. Over time he also uses the square metre as a standard measurement for his canvases.

His uncompromising attitude makes him a living legend on the Antwerp art scene, at the same time it caused him to become both outsider and outcast in the established world of contemporary art. Shortly before his death he is recognised in the public sphere, with three exhibitions of his work shown at M HKA in 2015; these exhibitions were prompted by the publication of a monograph on Vercammen, authored by Ronny Van de Velde.

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