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Fella), provided filming and editing, composer Jan Bruyndonckx created the “concrete” musical score and Paul De Vree supplied the script, which was recorded by actor Julien Schoenaerts in five languages. Contrary to what viewers might have expected (and apparently actually did expect), Essentieel is not an abstract film, but consists of sequences of images of nature selected by Verheyen to which light and colour in various forms are central (monochrome, pointillist, vibrating etc.). The twenty-minute, 16-mm film premièred at Poesie und Film. Manifestation der Antwerpener Essentialisten (Poetry and Film. A Show by the Antwerp Essentialists), an exhibition staged by Galerie d in Frankfurt (5 April 1964) where, according to one review, it sparked off an “immediate debate”. The daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau’s reviewer mustered little appreciation of the outmoded essentialism of the Antwerp group, but was more positive about the film, which he termed “a manifesto of Essentialism in film”.31 Verheyen elaborated on his intentions in a newspaper interview: Donner une forme dynamique à ce qui, en peinture, ne peut être traduit que de façon statique, ou presque. Fixer sur pellicule un phénomène irrationnel: celui de la métamorphose des couleurs en lumière. Montrer, par conséquent, leur matérialisation en valeurs spatiales quoique impondérables. (To give a dynamic form to something that, in painting, could only be translated in static or almost static form. To fix an irrational phenomenon on film: the metamorphosis of colours and light. To show, consequently, their materialisation in spatial, though imponderable, values.)

31  HR 1964, Frankfurter Rundschau 7.4.1964, De Vree to Verheyen 14.9.1964, Liefooghe, op. cit., p. 18)

According to Verheyen, De Vree’s script “adhered” as closely as possible to the spirit of the work. The film then had a few more showings in Belgium and the Netherlands. Shortly afterwards, arguments arose over the financial management of the entire project. The film has now vanished without a trace. Essentieel can be regarded as an experiment in the integration of the arts: the view of one painter resulted in a synthesis of film images, music and poetry. In the same year, however, Verheyen and De Vree developed a more explicit integration concept: the “Integratie 64” (Integration 64) exhibition. Visual art and architecture were to enter into dialogue there and thus offer a conceptual framework for a modern and artistic understanding of the urban environment. On that occasion, Renaat Braem (1910 – 2001) joined the Verheyen-De Vree team. This socially committed, leftist inspired, 133

Profile for Studio Luc Derycke

Jef Verheyen  

monography of the works of Jef Verheyen

Jef Verheyen  

monography of the works of Jef Verheyen

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