Marcel Broodthaers

Biographie

Marcel Broodthaers, born in Brussels in 1924, first published Symbolic and Surrealist poems in 1945. Active as poet, essayist, and filmmaker until he was forty, in 1964 he switched his interest from non-lucrative poetry to the field of the fine arts by casting fifty examples of his poetry volume Pense-Bête in plaster and displaying them. Broodthaers died in Cologne in 1976. Numerous solo exhibitions have been dedicated to him in important international museums, including Fundación Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona (1997), Stedeljik Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven(1995), Jeu de Paume, Paris (1991), and the Tate Gallery, London (1980). He was also represented at the documenta 5 (1972), 6 (1977), 7 (1982), and X (1997).

Additional biography

Broodthaers is considered a seminal figure in the art world of the twentieth century. His work continues to offer points of reference for numerous artist colleagues today. Key figures for him were Stéphane Mallarmé and René Magritte, with whom he was personally acquainted. Mallarmé’s poem Un Coup de dés jamais n’abolira pas le hasard with its refusal of a clear meaning and Magritte’s involvement with language and image as signs that have a disputable relationship to non-language reality, as demonstrated in his famous image Ceci n’est pas une pipe (This is not a Pipe), were starting points for Broodthaers’ own artistic creation. By isolating words and letters, removing them from their semantic context and recombining them, he dealt with writing as image and aimed at annulling its conventional meaning and thereby the rational understanding of it. Broodthaers’ work, in general, is devoted to questioning the knowledge systems of contemporary Western culture. He took the entire enterprise of art as the object of his artistic work, and can thereby be seen as a pioneer of institutional critique. With his fictive Muséé d’Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles (Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles) founded in his apartment in Brussels in 1968, he questioned “real” museums’ claim of having the power to define what art is. His “Museum” manifested itself until 1972 in the organization of several fictional departments in various sites. Broodthaers illuminated the specific conventions of the art industry and questioned the practice of declaring objects as art works by means of their public display and the application of wall signs. Broodthaers’ “museum” intended to house art, not artworks, and consequently questioned the social role of art institutions that transformed works to objects of value for the capitalist value-creation machinery. The reduction of things to their exchange value, the artist as trademark, and the handling of original and copy, are themes that the artist grappled with intensely. In addition, he was concerned with the problematic of colonization and exoticism. His extensive work, which includes extremely diverse media (films, slide projections, objects, prints, photographs, and artist’s books) hereby developed manifold relations to numerous further artists, writers, and philosophers, such as Duchamp, Baudelaire, and Foucault.

Artist's books

  • Marcel Broodthaers. Je hais le mouvement qui deplace les lignes. Text by Baudelaire, Charles. Hamburg: Édition Hossmann, 1973.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 18 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Catalogue - Catalogus. Ed. Societe des exposition du Palais des Beaux-Arts. Texts by Leeber, Irmeline; Reise, Barbara; Jost, Herbig et al. Brussels, 1974.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 20 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. La conquete de l'espace. Atlas a l'usage des artistes et des militaires. 1974.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 19 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Phantomas Nr. 62. Ed. Theodore Koenig, Joseph Noiret, Marcel & Gabriel Piqueray for Bibliotheque Phantomas. Text by Broodthaers, Marcel. Brussels, 1966.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 21 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Moules Oeufs Frites Pots Charbon. Ed. Wide White Space Gallery. Texts by Broodthaers, Marcel; Dypréau, Jean; Restany, Pierre. Antwerp, 1966.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 22 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Court Circuit Marcel Broodt(h)aers. Ed. Palais des Beaux-Arts. Texts by Broodthaers, Marcel; Restany, Pierre. Brussels, 1967.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 23 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Magie. Art et Politique. Paris: Multiplicata, 1973.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 24 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Studio. International Journal of Modern Art. No. 970. Belgian Issue. Ed. Peter Townsend. Texts by Gevaert, Yves; Lebeer, Irmaline; Reise, Barbara et al. London: Studio International Publications, 1974.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 25 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. L'Angelus de Daumier [VOL. I]. Ed. Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee national d'art moderne. Paris, 1975.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 26 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. L'Angelus de Daumier [VOL. II]. Ed. Centre Georges Pompidou, Musee national d'art modern. Texts by Broodthaers, Marcel; Hulten, Pontus. Paris, 1975.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 27 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Un Coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard. Ed. Marcel Broodthaers for Galerie Wide White Space, Antwerp; Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne. Brussels, 1969.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 28 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Un Coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard [KATALOGEDITION]. Ed. Marcel Broodthaers for Galerie Wide White Space, Antwerp; Galerie Michael Werner, Cologne. Brussels, 1969.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 29 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Museum. Museum. Der Adler vom Oligozän bis heute [BAND I]. Ed. Städtische Kunsthalle. Texts by Broodthaers, Marcel; Harten, Jürgen; Ruhrberg, Karl. Düsseldorf, 1972.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 30 RARA -
  • Marcel Broodthaers. Museum. Museum. Der Adler vom Oligozän bis heute [BAND II]. Ed. Städtische Kunsthalle. Texts by Broodthaers, Marcel; Harten, Jürgen; Ruhrberg, Karl et al. Düsseldorf, 1972.
    KM Broodthaers Marcel 31 RARA -