Autour et au-delà Marcel Broodthaers Onomwonden


The museum has invited two students studying In Situ at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp to make a presentation of Marcel Broodthaers’ sculpture ‘Grande casserole de moules’.

This presentation originated in the context of the initiative of the same name by the non-profit youth organisation, Amusee Vous vzw. In consultation with Maria Gilissen and the museum, Willem Corten and Teatske Burgerjon will present a selection of material from the archives of both the Cera Collection and the museum, in a room on the top floor of the S.M.A.K. This is combined with a projection of collected images of Broodthaers’ work. “When the museum asked me to organise a Broodthaers presentation which comprised not only exhibiting the collection but first and foremost the context of a specific work I made a thorough study of Broodthaers’ legacy.” The large mussel pot is one of Marcel Broodthaers’ early works. From the spring of 1966 it was frequently exhibited over a number of years. The first time was in the Wide White Space Gallery in Antwerp. Here it was part of an exhibition of objects accompanied by the publication of a small catalogue in which the shapes come back in photographic reproductions, in writing and in poetry. Very few people have a clear picture of this first exhibition. The Wide White Space had just opened and as yet there were no structural photos of the exhibition space. Consequently, it is not possible to describe the original context of the work without thorough historical research and the close cooperation of Maria Gilissen and others who were involved. However, what we can see is the change in the way the pot was placed and used. First on the ground in a new gallery, almost a year later on a pedestal in a museum in Brussels, a year after that as part of Broodthaers’ first space-oriented installation, “Le Corbeau et le Renard” (of which there are photos since it was no longer just about the objects) and then appeared in reproductions and photographic linen.

By studying this shifting of “Grande casserole de moules” we were able to find, in publications, other works and exhibitions, indications of how the work was built up and its position within Marcel Broodthaers’ work as a whole. In the future the S.M.A.K. plans to organise a permanent gallery in which each work in the collection is placed in its context. The idea behind the open structure of this gallery is to give visitors the opportunity to link individual works and the large number of texts and publications that are present in the museum. This small gallery is a first step, an attempt to use the legacy. We will focus on an early work and its specific history, but are not afraid to make associations with a print from 1974. In the future gallery the ensembles will probably be slightly less loosely structured. Now however, in order to give visitors and interested parties insight into the size of both the oeuvre and the collection, we will show what may become visible in the shadow of the legacy. Each individual work is charged with the status of Broodthaers’ body of work but still has its own sculptural value. By placing the mussel pot in a bright light and traditionally and/or museologically on a pedestal, we acknowledge its importance as a freestanding sculpture. Nevertheless, the pot leaves a trail behind, a shadow that forms a new mould. A new possibility to discover the content. (Teatske Burgerjon, Antwerp - September 2008) This presentation is a collaboration between the S.M.A.K. in Ghent and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts at the Hogeschool Antwerpen, as part of the initiative of the youth non profit organisation Amusee Vous vzw entitled ‘Autour et au-delà Marcel Broodthaers onomwonden’. With a well filled programme of exhibitions, film presentations, debates and other temporary interventions, the youth occupy dozens of cultural institutions from Ostend to Charleroi. The exhibited material comes from the S.M.A.K. Collection, Maria Gilissen’s donation to the S.M.A.K. Collection and the Cera Foundation Collection. The projection images and the prints of photos of Marcel Broodthaers’ works, exhibitions and installations have been selected from a large amount of material present in the museum and made available by Hans Theys. None of the images have been made by Teatske Burgerjon and Willem Corten, nor do they own them. This selection was made by students with the permission of Maria Gilissen.

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