Marcel Broodthaers - Gestalt-Bild-Abbildung
9-part work: each typographically printed canvas. 85 x 100 cm. Individually framed under glass. - Minor traces of age.
This artwork is on preview 20.Nov./21.Nov. from 10-17 hours in our office in Brussels.
Between 1972 and 1975, the Belgian conceptual artist Marcel Broodthaers created a series of multi-part so-called paintings, brought together under the title “Peintures littéraires”. The works were each made up of nine canvases hung in a defined pattern. They weren't, as the title suggests, actually painted by the artist, but printed works which were produced by the letterpress process under the supervision of the artist at a printers.
The presentation of “Peintures littéraires” is limited to snippets of text in even rows on the picture surface which address the association ability of the viewer. The present work shows the German terms “gestalt”, “bild” and “abbildung” one after another at the top and lower middle of the three canvases hanging in the top row. The canvases arranged below combine French terms such as “Le fou”, “L'armoire” or “La méduse” in the same position, some of which are repeated. Instead of a visualisation of the given terms, the viewer sees themself confronted with the uniformly arranged references such as “fig. A” or fig. 2” to supposed illustrations - references that are known from academic publications, but here fall completely into the void.
““Peintures littéraires” continues the series of questions which Broodthaers had already posed almost a decade ago, when he asked himself: 'What is painting? Well, it is literature. What then is literature? Well, it is painting.' […] Broodthaers' decision in favour of letterpress printing, the standard printing technique for books until the second half of the 20th century, unites the act of writing with that of painting.” (Kim Conaty, in: Marcel Broodthaers. Eine Retrospektive, exhib.cat., Museum of Modern Art New York et al., Cologne 2016, p. 271)
With accompanying draft sketch with comments about the work by the artist, dated August 1973.
Wide White Space Gallery, Antwerp; private collection, Antwerp
Gloria Moure, Marcel Broodthaers, Collected Writings, Barcelona 2012, p.409 with installation view
Knokke-Zoute 2014 (Galerie Ronny Van de Velde), Conceptual Art, exhib.cat., p. 34/35 with colour illus.
Brussels 1974 (Palais des Beaux-Arts), Marcel Broodthaers, Catalogue, Catalogus, exhib.cat, n.pag. with illus.