Stéphane Vee, 2001

Poésie urbaine

Acrylic on photograph on wood
Diptych, each panel 140 × 100 cm

Four pigeons sitting on three battens in an artificial green-yellow with cross-faded lighting from a slight bottom view. The footless bodies of the plaster pigeons are patterned mass products that convey an impression of uniformity. As on lines of a musical stave or telephone wires, they sit at two different distances upon the upper batten and are repeated as shadowy outlines on the background wall as a shifted resonance. They peer into an unknown foreground.

This banal pictorial theme, designated by the title as urban poetry, refers to pigeon breeding that was the everyday hobby of simple labourers in mining settlements such as Charleroi. What does the pale work offer in terms of visual resonances and associations that could shed light on the intentions of the artist? Are we looking at carrier pigeons which, in the era of e-mail, are sitting on the shelf as if no longer required? Are they clay pigeons that can be shot? Or do the pigeons simply represent a cliché of domesticated nature? This final interpretation would belong to the urban fantasy of naturalness just like houseplants or miniature gardens in boxes on balconies.

(Dirk Tölke, revised version)

† This artwork belongs to the IKOB collection, but was destroyed in the regional floods of July 2021.