The clock of modernity

Paul De Vree


Print, 98 x 98 cm.
Materials: ink, canvas

Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp (Inv. no. S0330_01).

The clock of modernity from 1966 is an example in which the condensed use of language has led to visual possibilities for the text, with the space creating the structure. Here the graphic ideogram wins out over the musicality of the word.

In this poem the word ‘rage’ is centred and encircled by ‘o’, ‘vi’, ‘mi’, ‘ga’, ‘ci’ and ‘ti’. By connecting the syllables to the key word ‘rage’ the observer can construct words such as ‘orage’, ‘mirage’, ‘garage’ etc. Because the constellation is conceived in the form of a clock, albeit stylised, this creates a link between all the possible combinations with ‘rage’ and also establishes a connection with time: the modern life that is dominated by a rapid succession of several transient or recurring ‘rages’. ‘O-rage’, the storm, the constant shifts in political life, wars; mi-rage, the reflection of ideals and ideal images, or the delusion; ‘ci-rage’, consumer materialism, faultlessness, the superficial world of outward appearances; ‘ga-rage’, the settling down syndrome or the search for peace and inner security and suchlike. De Vree wants to make it clear that what often seems so important in modern society is just a passing trend. What is important is that he evokes these meanings just by positioning a word and a few syllables that alone do not hold such meaning.

Events View all

Ensembles View all

Actors View all