Marcel Broodthaers

An amazing exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (New York): Retrospective Marcel Broodthaers. Broodthaers (1924-1976) was originally a poet, but he called it quits by the time he was forty. He developed himself into one of the most talked about visual artists since the Second World War. Fascinated by language, Surrealism, Magritte's magic, averse to art patrons and artistic trics: a profile of Marcel Broodthaers. Between 1968 and 1972 he travelled with his own 'Musée d'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles' and many of the pieces are currently shown at MoMA.

Words, handwritten or typed, painted or spoken, language was ubiquitous in the artwork of Broodthaers. Images that uses repeatedly are eggshells, mussels, fries, coal and other associations with Belgium. These images are his brand. Mockery and compassion. 

Even the fable 'The Raven and the Fox' (1968) doesn't escape Broodthaers' imagination. In a movie-projection at MoMA we no longer see the words but in the background we hear his voice, which sounds warm and sonorous. 

Marcel Broodthaers worked with materials that were up for grabs, like the eggshells: signs of renewal and at the same time an empty cap. He wanted to express himself in a Belgian vocabulary, a sneer to all those savages who used art as a symbol of nationalist pride. It all comes together in the Belgian tricolour with eggshells and a mussel pan. 

frites, mussels, eggs

His most comprehensive projects was the travellng museum 'Musée d'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles'. He starts in 1968 and for four years he tours around with beautiful installations such as 'Winter Garden'. It is a museum filled with decors (to stay with Broodthaers' terminology) decorated with palm trees and pictures of exotic birds. The decorations are not all without obligation. In the two decors depicting the nineteenth and twentiest century he places two antique cannons as guardians by the entrance, watching over a camping table with a jigsaw puzzle of the Battle of Waterloo and a couple of automatic firearms. 

the twentiest century - decor with a jigsaw puzzle of the Battle of Waterloo on the table

the mantle of Maria, in the colour blue as her garment is always depicted, here with a metaforical bag of new life

This retrospective exhibition of Marcel Broodthaers can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art in New York until May 15th. Afterwards the exposition moves to the Arte Reine Sofia in Madrid and in spring 2017 it arrives at the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen in Düsseldorf. It comes highly recommended by your blogger. 



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