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EXHIBITION | "PLUS" and Yves De Smet | 29 APR - 05 JUNE 2022

CONVENT Space for Contemporary Art| Tennisbaanstraat 74 | 9000 Ghent (BE)|

Friday - Sunday 14:00 - 17:00

OPENING: Friday 29 APRIL, 20:00

«PLUS» and Yves De Smet.

Ideology, camaraderie, and rivalry on the playing field of Ghent art between 1965 and 1970

This exhibition reflects on the activities that the young Ghent artist Yves De Smet has been organizing since 1965 under the name "PLUS". The symbol stands for a true ideological program: "If you think positively and dare to look ahead, if you do or want to do constructive work, if you no longer want to postpone the future but dare to address it today, if you consciously experience all dimensions, then these evenings are for you," writes De Smet when he sets up a number of discussion evenings and events at the end of 1965. "PLUS" is not only figuratively ‘constructive’, the visual language of De Smet and his close associates, including Willy Plompen and Jan Van Den Abbeel, is also literally so. De Smet and co explore all aspects of geometric abstraction, and experiment in the field of Op-art.

Between 1965 and 1968, Yves De Smet organized no less than ten "PLUS"-events in which he involved not only Ghent artists but also various national and international ones. By means of documents and photographs, the exhibition reconstructs the history of "PLUS" - from the "PLUS"-evenings in 1965 to the group exhibition in the Palazzo Frescobaldi (Florence) in 1968. The artworks presented are related to an early exhibition, “PLUS” met opzet (“PLUS on purpose”), which took place in December 1966 in the R20 Wandelgalerij (“walking gallery”) in the Sint-Lucas institute (Ghent). The septet that appears in "PLUS" met opzet, is an unpublished combination. Young artists of Sint-Lucas (Yves De Smet (°1946), Gerard Geerinckx (°1943) and Albert Rubens (°1944)) exhibit next to recent graduates of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Willy Plompen (°1942) and Jan Van Den Abbeel (°1943)), and two seniors: Amédée Cortier (°1921) and René Heyvaert (°1929).

After 1968, several attempts are made to continue the cooperation. For various reasons the "PLUS"-project and the friendship between Yves De Smet, Willy Plompen and Jan Van Den Abbeel comes to an end. Yves De Smet starts in 1969 together with his wife Jenny Van Driessche a gallery, Plus-Kern. In 1969 and 1970 Willy Plompen and Jan Van Den Abbeel still come to some remarkable joint realizations.

The exhibition "PLUS" and Yves De Smet, curated by Koen Brams, is part of the multi-annual research project Ghent, playing field of the visual arts (1957-1987) (KASK & Conservatorium (HOGENT - Howest)) by Godart Bakkers, Koen Brams, Wouter De Vleeschouwer, Sofie Frederix and Naninga Lens.

As part of the exhibition, Escautville produced a film with the same name, after a concept by Koen Brams, and realized by Lisa Spilliaert.

On the occasion of "PLUS" and Yves De Smet, Posture Editions brings out an eponymous publication: Posture Pockets N° 1 (19.5 x 13 cm, 160 p.). ISBN: 978 94 9126 250 0. Price: € 25.

The exhibition, the film and the book were realized with the support of KASK & Conservatorium (HOGENT - Howest), Posture Editions, the city of Ghent and the Flemish government.


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