7 Arts, collection Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp.

7 Arts (1922 - 1928) is the longest running polemical paper of the avant-garde in Belgium. The weekly tabloid, with a circulation of 1200 copies, is journalistic in content, with critical overviews of Modernism. Just as with Het Overzicht, it is international in scope though with the advantage that, with the usage of French, the language barrier plays a lesser role. In 7 Arts the term ‘Pure Plasticism’ (Plastique Pure) appears for the first time, presumably inspired by the lecture that Theo Van Doesburg (1883 - 1931) gives in Brussels in the Centre d’Art in February 1920. This occurs by invitation of the periodical Le Geste, which shall, along with the editorial staff of Demain Littéraire et Social and Au Volant, become the basis for 7 Arts.

Contributors are the brothers Victor and Pierre Bourgeois, the one an architect, the other a writer. They are joined by the painters Karel Maes and Pierre-Louis Flouquet as well as the composer Georges Monnier. With the inaugural number in May 1922, the ideology of 7 Arts is clear: the arts are the active expression of a civilisation and the result of an ‘organised discovery’. Art serves as a means of expression for the modern life and therein Abstract Art certainly belongs. From a clearly leftist-progressive programme, Constructivism receives a form with the integration of all arts within architecture. The garden district ‘La cité moderne’, constructed in 1922, or the booth of ‘L’equerre/7 Arts’ from 1923 by Victor Bourgeois (with collaboration by Flouquet, De Boeck, Peeters, Servranckx and Maes) can serve as examples of this here. The paper also further places a great deal of attention on important foreign projects, amongst which is L’architecture futuriste (1926) by Enrico Prampolini (1894 - 1956). Theatre and especially film are also graciously offered. Film becomes, just as architecture, to be seen as a synthesising discipline in order to reach the masses.

Just as with the Antwerp brothers-in-arms of Het Overzicht, 7 Arts knows an international network of related publications including: Zenit, Merz, L’Effort Moderne, Blok, Bouwen and De Stijl. Maurice Casteels (1890 - 1962), whose pieces appear in Het Overzicht as well as 7 Arts, writes important articles dedicated to Jozef Peeters and Felix De Boeck and is along with Maes a bridge between the avant-garde movements in Brussels and Antwerp. 7 Arts appears weekly in newspaper format until September 1928, after which it is published as a supplement of the Brussels daily paper L’Aurore until May 1929.


Sergio Servellón


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