- 1962, Munster: "For me, art is in the first place human
communication addressed to all men, of which the form and the
content, as well as the understanding and the heart, must be at the
highest possible level. . . . If these postulates are not respected,
there can be no great art."
- 1969, Blankenberge: "It is not for me to speak
of my work, others will do so. But I should like to say here. . . what
my conception is of art in our society. It is this: Art seems to me
to be the most universal religion of our time, and the artist its
principal messenger. The artist is a witness of his time, but he can
also be an accuser, a critic, or he can celebrate in his works the
uneasy greatness of his day.
"I cannot conceive of an artist isolating himself in an ivory
tower, this seems anti-human, and, in any case, out of keeping with
our way of life. We all need one another in order to survive. This
does not mean that the artist is obliged to march in step with
everybody else. On the contrary, though he is a man like other men,
destiny has made of him a being with the mysterious gift which enables
him to create works in which the vessel, forms, and colors, must be
worthy of that which it bears, sincerity and thought.
"The artist is in the very front rank of those who lead
humanity toward a better world, more beautiful, more free, more just,
- To Frans Buyens (in a film interview):
"An ideal communism would be, let us say,
an anarchic sort of communism. Every man ought to be sufficiently
mature to be willing to live in common with his fellows and to respect
their freedom. . . .Man must be king of earth! Everyone should be a
king of earth!"
- Again: "I don't see what is political about it [his work].
Politics is a matter of factions--in Italian, combinazione,
which is a lot prettier. But there are no 'factions' in my work.
There is, I believe, great sincerity. It is a direct enough matter,
consequently, which is not at all political. On the contrary, it
is humanist. . . .
"I don't feel my work need carry a direct message. But that is
not my point of departure. I don't consider myself a prophet, or
well-informed enough to allow myself to offer messages. However,
many of my works have been interpreted as messages. This moves me
and gives me pleasure, because if I could offer a valid message, I
think I should do so with pleasure."
- "Abstract art is a progressive art. But I don't see where
it leads. I see no future in it, because I think that showing
nothing, saying nothing, pleasing only the eyes, produces at the end
of the day an art which is very agreeable to a certain section of the
rich middle class. It is an art that you can put anywhere: in the
bathroom, in the kitchen, above your bed; it shocks nobody. There are
simply more or less successful combinations of colors in a particular
pattern, which are sometimes very interesting. But for me, art is
more serious than that."
Frans Masereel, 1976, Fonds Mercator, pp 84-7.
"Masereel pitilessly castigated man's ugliness, while praising
his beauty. With rare force he carved the image of the misery man
calls down upon himself, but which he has the power to prevent if he
would. With the intensity that characterizes him, he extols humanity,
and a society--utopian perhaps--in which all men are brothers."
----Maurice Naessens, Preface to Avermaete.
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