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Artists Marcel Broodthaers
Marcel Broodthaers Photo

Marcel Broodthaers

Belgian Conceptual Artist, Filmmaker and Poet

Movement: Conceptual Art

Born: January 28, 1924 - Brussels, Belgium

Died: January 28, 1976 - Cologne, Germany

Marcel Broodthaers Timeline

Quotes

"I, too, wondered whether I could not sell something and succeed in life. For some time I had been no good at anything. I am forty years old... Finally the idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work straightaway."
Marcel Broodthaers
"With the help of a fiction like my museum it is possible to grasp reality as well as that which reality it conceals."
Marcel Broodthaers
"These boxes arrived and I arranged them in quite a special way, precisely as one would arrange a work of art. And I said to myself: 'But basically, this is what a museum is.' This concerns the notion of a museum."
Marcel Broodthaers
"Don't feel sold before you have been bought."
Marcel Broodthaers
"The mind of objects - I try to communicate thought to objects in the following manner... I remove the object from it usual context, I place it in another..."
Marcel Broodthaers
"The presentation of an exhibition depends on the opinion the official exhibitor has of art... As an artist, that means with a signification as scarcely determined and as poorly defined, my actions being confined merely to the margins of social behavior. It is easily obvious that I wanted to neutralize the use-value of the symbol of the Eagle and reduce it to the degree of zero in order to introduce critical dimensions into the history and use of this symbol."
Marcel Broodthaers
"From the moment that one is less of an artist, when the necessity of making puts down its roots in memory alone. I believe my exhibitions depended and still depend on memories of a period when I assumed the creative situation in a heroic and solitary manner."
Marcel Broodthaers

"I remove the object from it usual context, I place it in another... "

Marcel Broodthaers Signature

Synopsis

Marcel Broodthaers' meteoric rise to the top of the art world upon his entrance onto the scene in 1964 - coupled with his brilliant output until his untimely death twelve years later - makes one wonder why he waited until age 40 to begin his artistic career. On the other hand, Broodthaers' work explores irony, contradiction, and the questioning of long-established artistic institutions, so it may be fitting that his artistic fame constituted a 180-degree turnaround from a 20-year period spent in poverty as a poet and journalist. Broodthaers' engagement with language, history, and identity helped establish the genre of Conceptual Art and fought to free visual art from the shackles of aesthetic taste and commercialization.

Key Ideas

Because Broodthaers spent years outside of the art world - despite his friendships with other prominent artists and intellectuals - much of his work exposes how art is often "colonized" by either an elite, by the state, or by commerce, and attempts to reclaim the exhibition of art as a catalogue of an artist's experiences, instead of a display showroom for a certain demographic.
Broodthaers often incorporates humor, language, and personal metaphor as source material, which both helps to make his conceptual work accessible to a broader public and challenges conventional understandings of governments, museums, galleries, and other sources of power and control both within and outside the art world.
Broodthaers' engagement with identity - and particularly Belgian identity - helped provide fresh attention to his native country's art for the first time after the Second World War, but paradoxically, it also called into question the meaning of national identity in an increasingly-globalized dialogue about art.
Broodthaers' films are diverse, ranging from comedies to documentaries to melodramas, and they often reveal a sense of humor and playfulness that is less apparent in his other work. Often they show him performing ridiculous acts under obviously staged circumstances, or humorous depictions of him dressed as historical or imaginary characters. They frequently illuminate the artistic influences on Broodthaers, such as Magritte and Schwitters, and critique both the methods of filmmaking and the locations of shooting and display.

Biography

Marcel Broodthaers Photo

Childhood

Marcel Broodthaers was born in Brussels in 1924. As a youth he was known to be bright and academically-inclined. From a relatively early age Broodthaers was involved in political and social issues. Around the age of 16, he was introduced to the "Surréalisme Revolutionnaire," a branch of the surrealists in Belgium, and during World War II he joined the anti-Nazi resistance.

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Marcel Broodthaers Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Marcel Broodthaers
Interactive chart with Marcel Broodthaers's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

René MagritteRené Magritte
Kurt SchwittersKurt Schwitters
Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Stéphane MallarméStéphane Mallarmé

Personal Contacts

René MagritteRené Magritte
Joseph BeuysJoseph Beuys

Movements

DadaDada
SurrealismSurrealism
Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Pop ArtPop Art

Influences on Artist
Marcel Broodthaers
Marcel Broodthaers
Years Worked: 1957-1976
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Richard PrinceRichard Prince
Tino SehgalTino Sehgal
Matthew BarneyMatthew Barney

Personal Contacts

Joseph BeuysJoseph Beuys

Movements

Conceptual ArtConceptual Art
Installation ArtInstallation Art
Process ArtProcess Art

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Peter Clericuzio

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Peter Clericuzio
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