High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Constant: The End of the Avant-Garde
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Constant: The End of the Avant-Garde

(Rudy Hodel) The Low Countries - 2009, № 17, pp. 166-171

This is an article from our print archives

After his start as a CoBrA-painter, Constant was to be the designer, theoretician and spokesman of his one-man-movement New Babylon. He constructed innumerable mysterious models, wrote countless articles, gave lectures all over Europe and exhibited his drawings and models as an architect. But all in vain. When the social revolution failed to materialise and the whole project remained in the realm of ideas, he not only broke with the project but also with the traditional concept of the avant-garde. Once more he felt free to devote himself to his former passion: painting. For the last thirty years of his life he dedicated himself to well-crafted, classically constructed paintings, watercolours and drawings. Yet the break with his own past was anything but total. For the work of this period, no less impressive than what had gone before, also deals with Constant's longstanding themes: war, the nomadic gypsy life, and above all freedom.

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