Marcel Broodthaers at Fridericianum

02 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Dirk Pauwels, SMAK

Artist: Marcel Broodthaers

Venue: Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany

Curated by: Susanne Pfeffer

Date:  July 17 – October 11, 2015

Photography: images courtesy of the artist and Fridericianum

“Fiction enables us to grasp reality and at the same time that which is veiled by reality.”

–Marcel Broodthaers

At the end of 1963, the writer Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976) decided to become a visual artist. Yet he retained an avid interest in poetry and language, and their systems of meaning became integral components of his art. Maintaining a distance to the art world, Broodthaers raised fundamental questions about art—about its media, about how the artwork is defined, and about its representation in museums. His works resist definitive art-historical classification and his oeuvre still stands as a persistent critique of the commercializing strategies of the art. He undertook a critical examination of the practices of collecting, archiving, and display, questioning the power of the institution to define and exposing the museum itself as a representational and ideological authority.

Broodthaers’ work is grounded in a probing investigation of the ordering systems of everyday life, the mechanisms involved in the production of meaning, and their place within a collective cultural memory. Extracting images, objects, words, and actions from their established contexts, the artist made visible the contrast between the reality of visual images and the reality they depict. He revealed the agency of objects, which transcend our ability to grasp them through language, and emphasized the puzzling play of language itself, employing words as both visualized ideas and literal material. In an age characterized by our faith in the capacity of visual images to explain scientific and political phenomena, the oeuvre of Marcel Broodthaers, in which the unspoken dissonance of images, words, and meanings becomes apparent, assumes immense power and relevance.

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of documenta, the Fridericianum presents a major retrospective featuring works from all of the artist’s creative periods. The exhibition encompasses numerous early objects and sculptures, films, slide projections, prints, and drawings as well as Le Corbeau et le Renard (1967–72), the Section Publicité of the Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles (1972), Éloge du sujet (1974), Dites partout que je l’ai dit (1974), Jardin d’Hiver II (1974), L’Entrée de l’Exposition (1974), Salle Blanche (1975), and DÉCOR, A Conquest by Marcel Broodthaers (1975).

Responsible for the Fridericianum is the documenta und Museum Fridericianum Veranstaltungs-GmbH.

01 Marcel Broodthaers (c) V-A-C collection

Portemanteau, 1965. Photo: V-A-C collection. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

02 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Dirk Pauwels, SMAK

Grande casserole de moules, 1966 Photo: Dirk Pauwels, SMAK, Ghent. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

03 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Dirk Pauwels, SMAK

Citron – Citroen (Réclame pour la Mer du Nord), 1974. Photo: Dirk Pauwels, SMAK, Ghent. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

04 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Dirk Pauwels, SMAK

289 Œufs, 20 x 13 = 260, 2 x 14 = 28, + 1= 1, =289 Œufs, 1966. Photo: Dirk Pauwels, SMAK, Ghent. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

05 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Rocco Ricci

La Signature Série 1 Tirage illimité, 1969. Photo: Rocco Ricci? ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015. Courtesy: MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation

06 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Maria Gilissen

Musée d’Art Moderne Département des Aigles, Section Publicité (Detail), 1972. Photo: Maria Gilissen. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

07 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Egbert Trogemann

Etagère avec portrait de Mallarmé, 1969. Photo: Egbert Trogemann. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

08 Marcel Broodthaers (c) unbekannt

EEEE… S, 1967. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

09 Marcel Broodthaers

Marcel Broodthaers writing “Le Corbeau et le Renard”, 1967-68. Photographer unknown. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

10 Marcel Broodthaers

Moules Casserole, 1967. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015. Courtesy: Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

11 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Maria Gilissen

Projection de diapositives sur caisse, 1968. Photo: Maria Gilissen. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

12 Marcel Broodthaers (c) Matteo Monti

Jardin d’Hiver II, 1974. Photo: Matteo Monti. ©The Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

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