On the restoration of ‘Le Pense Bête’ by Marcel Broodthaers | 22 September at 3 pm

‘Le Pense Bête’ by Marcel Broodthaers
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‘Le Pense Bête’ by Marcel Broodthaers

Conservator Frederika Huys and researcher Joris D’hooghe discuss various aspects of the restoration of ‘Le Pense Bête’ by Marcel Broodthaers.

‘Le Pense Bête’ by Marcel Broodthaers, a work from 1964, was purchased by the Flemish Community in 2006 and given on long-term loan to the S.M.A.K. collection. At the time of purchase, however, the work was in relatively poor condition and underwent a thorough restoration by the then head of conservation and S.M.A.K. restorer, Frederika Huys.*

During the conversation between Frederika Huys and Joris D’hooghe,** the different aspects of the restoration of ‘Le Pense Bête’ will be set against the art historical value of the work and its significance within the artist’s oeuvre.

‘Le Pense Bête’ is widely considered to be one of the most important works within Marcel Broodthaers’ entire oeuvre. This is because it marks the point at which Broodthaers abandoned poetry and decided to become a visual artist. It is Broodthaers’ first work as a (conceptual) visual artist and contains multiple copies of his (poorly sold) poetry collection ‘Le Pense Bête’. By encapsulating these in plaster, he rendered them unreadable but gave them the status of a contemporary sculpture.

Practical information

  • On Sunday 22 September 2019 at 15:00.
  • Reservations can be made via reservation@smak.be.
  • In Dutch.
  • Admission: museum ticket.

More about the Broodthaers Cabinet in S.M.A.K.

* Frederika Huys (b.1973) is owner and senior conservator at The Protocol Room, a studio specializing in the conservation and restoration of contemporary art, founded in 2010. She began her career in 1997 with the research project ‘The Conservation and Restoration of Contemporary Artworks’, which was commissioned by the Flemish Community. From 1998 to 2010 she was head of conservation at the S.M.A.K.

** Joris D’hooghe (b.1982) is associated with the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels where he completed a doctoral thesis on the oeuvre of Marcel Broodthaers. As an art critic, he writes for ‘rekto:verso’, ‘Ons Erfdeel’ and ‘Kunsttijdschrift Vlaanderen’. He has also contributed to the catalogue ‘Carte du monde poétique. Films, works and documents of Marcel Broodthaers’, which was published by the Herbert Foundation in 2015.