18 Apr 2015 - 5 Jul 2015

Exhibition "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles" by Marcel Broodthaers

Monnaie de Paris

From 18 April to 5 July 2015, Monnaie de Paris presents "Musée d'Art Moderne – Département des Aigles" by Marcel Broodthaers, curated by Chiara Parisi in collaboration with Maria Gilissen Broodthaers.

Exhibition "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles" by Marcel Broodthaers
Marcel Broodthaers tells the story of his "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles". Abstracts of several editions and audio extracts of the "Atelier de création radiophonique L'Angélus de Degas. Marcel Broodthaers: hétéroclite II" (27 May 1979) lead you into this unique work by Marcel Broodthaers who was an artist, a museum curator, a collector, a poet, a movie maker...
"Le Balancier d'Austerlitz", 1810
The exhibition starts under the peristyle with the Balancier d’Austerlitz (Rocker arm of Austerlitz) (1810) that Marcel Broodthaers wanted to borrow from Monnaie de Paris for his Section des Figures (1972) Détails of this section are presented in the exhibition. Its weight, 2.1 tons, and the fact that it was still used at that time, forced him to content himself with photographs, which were also included in the Section Publicité.
"Malle en osier", 1975
In the Great Staircase, visitors discover the "Malle en osier" (Wicker Trunk) (1975). This artwork was presented in Paris before, in 1975, in the exhibition "L'Angélus de Daumier" at Centre National d’Art contemporain (Hôtel Rothschild), the forerunner of the Centre Pompidou.

"The malle en osier first figured in the entrance hall of the hotel. It contains messages given to me by a State from another hemisphere. They are hidden there according the principles of the "Stolen letter" and the "Manuscript found in a Bottle"".
Marcel Broodthaers, 10 October 1975.

"Jardin d'hiver II", 1974
The exhibition opens with the "Jardin d'Hiver II" (Winter Garden II). Without being part of the "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles", this artwork transforms the notion of the museum by including the desert and the exotism. For the first version of this work, Marcel Broodthaers came with a camel and shot a movie which is part of the second version presented here.

Marcel Broodthaers: "What I especially like in this winter garden is the confrontation with th public garden that you see by the window. How do you like my winter garden? Are the chairs too hard? I don't know. We are on a red carpet. Are you happy or maybe you would like a drink or some music? I don't know."

Jardin d'hiver

Palm Trees of "Jardin d'Hiver" in Belgium

Marcel Broodthaers: "There is no palm tree in Belgium, except in winter gardens. But if suddenly there were palm trees in Belgium, I wouldn't be surprised given how odd this country is. A palm trees forest in Belgium. Yes. I could definitely see it."

Les Palmiers du Jardin d'hiver en Belgique

The Camel in the first version of "Jardin d'Hiver"

Marce Broodthaers: "My country is both very boring and extremly funny because we can do things here that we can't do anywhere else. The zoo lends me a camel that I tooko in front of the exhibition space. It was filmed like that, in relation to this exotic garden; like a relation between two exotisms. The one we are used to and a camel which is not in its regular place but still considered in Europe as an exotic animal. It's an animal living into the desert."

Le Chameau dans la première version du Jardin d'hiver

The levels of the camel's representation

Marcel Broodthaers: "Anyway, in the movie, we see the camel in the movie on a screen, but then we see it again in a fake reality with is a reality of representation too. So a relation is necessarily established between two ways of representation. There lays a method to criticize the current situation."

Les différents niveaux de représentation du chameau

The camel and the beauty

Marcel Broodthaers: "For me, the camel represents ths incommunication. The camel is the beauty of the animal. I would say that the rest, the palm tree and the museum, is no interest to me. I would say, I don't say, do I? Let's be clear about it. But for me, the camel is the beauty. And the beauty is like in Baudelaire's poem: "I am beautiful, ô mortals! like a dream of stone"."

Le chameau et la beauté

"This piece has already been exhibited, but in a different form. It has become the fuse for DECOR which we can now characterize by the idea of an object which has been returned to its real function that is that the object is not considered in itself as a work of art."

Extract from the catalogue L’Angélus de Daumier, Paris 1975.

"Salle Blanche", 1975
The "Salle Blanche" (White Room) was part of the exhibition "L'Angélus de Daumier" in 1975 at Centre National d’Art contemporain (Hôtel Rothschild), the forerunner of the Centre Pompidou. It is a reconstruction of a room from Broodthaers’ home in Brusels in which, in 1968, he opened his "Musée d’Art Moderne- Département des Aigles" (Museum of Contemporary Art - Department of Eagles) and the "Section XIXème siècle" (19th Century Section).

"The closest reconstitution possible of a collection made by the artist in 1968 which attacked, at the time, the notion of the museum and that of hierarchy".

Marcel Broodthaers, Exhibition catalogue "L'Angélus de Daumier", 1975

The title of this exhibition is a reference to the painting "L'Angélus" by Millet and to the 19th Century cartoonist and caricaturist : Daumier.

Marcel Broodthaers: " We do Wonder why Daumier never painted an Angélus."
"The Angélus by Degas. I can't really see the two characters in Millet's painting dressed with tutu. I really can't see. Daumier, yes. No, not Degas. Toulouse-Lautrec, yes. I will end up liking Degas. Yes. After all. Next year, it will be the Angélus by Degas. Yes, after all, I like this idea of an Angélus by Degas!"

Les Angélus des artistes
"Projection sur caisse", 1968
Like the "Salle Blanche", the Projection sur caisse (Projection on crate) (1968) is a direct reference to the first section of the museum, the Section XIXe siècle. Facetiously, Marcel Broodthaers replaced works of art with postcards and a transport crate on which he projected reproductions of paintings and drawings. Again he played with several levels of representation.

The edition Musée - Museum (1972) (5) harkens back to the Section XIXe siècle with postcards of two paintings by Ingres, La Grande Odalisque and Le Bain Turc, and Les Dormeuses by Courbet. A second edition, copies 61/100 to 100/100, includes two postcards of paintings by Ingres, Portrait of the Violinist Paganini, and Portrait of Madame Victor Baltard. As in many other works, Marcel Broodthaers payed homage to the great masters and highlights their place in the history of art to illustrate his reflection on the museum and the work of art (painting).

"Plaques (Poèmes industriels)", 1968-1972
Marcel Broodthaers talks about this artworks in "Dix Mille francs de récompense" published in the exhibition catalogue "Catalogue-Catalogus", Brussels, Palais des Beaux Arts, 1974.

And the language in this plaques?

"Let say rebus. And what is it about? A speculation about the hard reading due to the use of this material. Know that this plaques are made like waffles."

Are these plaques so uneasy to read?

"Reading them becomes hard because the text looks like an image and vice versa. Stereotyped text and image are definied by the plastic technic. And the reading depends of a double level - each level belongs to a negativ attitude which is peculiar to the artistic attitude. Don't place the message only on one side, neither image or text. It means refusing to give a clear message as if the artist could not do it and by extension no Producer economically interested. Here, there would be an opening to a polemic. According to me, it can't be any direct relation between art and the message and even less if the message is a political one without succombing to a trick. Without sinking. I would rather sign some strange hoax without using this endorsement".

"Section des Figures", 1972
It was as a director and curator that Marcel Broodthaers borrowed works from artists presented with over four hundred works, paintings, sculptures, everyday objects, all linked by the representation of the eagle. Each is accompanied by a plaquette that reads "This is not a work of art. No....".

Marcel Broodthaers: "This museum is called Museum of Modern Art - Department of Eagles. It is already composed by several sections: a "19th Century Section", a "17th Century Section", a "Litterary Section". So I would like to found another one."

How would you call it?

Marcel Broodthaers: "Since the museum is called "Department of Eagles", I was thinking about "La Fontaine Section" or the "Section of Figures". I would very much like "La Fontaine Section" because I really like fables, but the eagle, since the museum is called "Department of Eagles"..."

You can find eagles in La Fontaine's fables....

Marcel Broodthaers "You can find eagles in La Fontaine's fables but these eagles do not suit me."

Le titre de la Section des Figures

Marcel Broodthaers: "Listen up. Here, in Book two "The Eagle and Bettle". It is about an eagle chasing a rabit, a beetle try to argue for the rabbit's life and asks for the eagle's mercy. As an answer, the eagles eats the rabit. And the beetle is offended.

So here is the text:
"The beetle's fury now awoke
She to the nest of absent eagle rushed ;
Her eggs so loved, her dearest hopes, she crushed,
Yes, every darling egg she broke.
The eagle came to her now dreary home,
Loud, loud she screamed, but what was worst of all,
Knew not on whom to let her vengeance fall ;
With sad complaints along the skies she'd roam,
Childless that year she wept her loss in vain."

So obviously, for La Fontaine, this eagle is almost a symbol of maternity. Whereas for me, the eagle is only a symbol of power, of ferocity even. My idea of the eagle is really different than the one of La Fontaine so I hesitate to call this new section of the museum "La Fontaine Section"."

L'aigle chez La Fontaine

Founding the "Section of Figures"

Marcel Broodthaers: "Here is founded the "Section of Figures" of the "Museum of Modern Art - Departement of Eagle". So here it is. It's done."

Fondation de la Section des Figures
"Section Publicité", 1972
Marcel Broodthaers expanded his thoughts on the Relationship between the object, the work and their représentations in "Section Publicity" (1972), presented in Kassel for the Documenta V exhibition in 1972, at the invitation of Harald Szeeman. It focused on the reproductibility of works and questions the consumer audience by reproducing the "Section of Figures" in the form of documents and photographs."

Marcel Broodthaers played with the ambiguity of the Relationship between the original and the reproduction, adding a layer of interpretation linked to the advertising. By featuring photographs of the works that he had previously shown, ha was adertising the "Section of Figures". He delivered a reflection on the power and circulation of images of works of art and the nature of our relationship with them.

"In advertising, the eagle has retained all its charateristics of magical products. [...] The critical form Under which it is presented here consists in a double projection: on the one hand, we see eagles in the history of art a,d on the other hand, nothing but advertising images."

Interview with Marcel Broodthaers by Georges Adé, Section Publicity, Marian Goodman, p.11.

Marcel Broodthaers interviews Harald Szeemann

M.B.: "Harald Szeemann, you are here the "Deus ex machine"; unless the other Documentas, it's only one person, you, that was the head of the project..."

H.S.: "In 1969, in Kassel, they were looking for another structure of organization for this exhibition. They wanted to replace the jury composed by 25 people who only voted for things they already knew; at that time, everyone stand for the democratization of cultural places and back then, they believed that the best guarantee of democratization was indeed one person only."

Marcel Broodthaers interroge Harald Szeemann
Publications and litterary references
This room is dedicated to the different publications by Marcel Broodthaers and his litterary references like Paul Valéry and Mallarmé. Open letters announce the opening of the "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles" are also presented in this room.

In this audio track, Marcel Broodthaers talks about "Monsieur Teste", an artwork inspired by Paul Valéry's book.

Monsieur Teste

In "Cahiers" (1971-1972), Marcel Broodthaers developed various themes before presenting them. Each notebook is different - one presented in the exhibition refers to "figures" and the other to the "Financial service" - but they both contain an envelope holding a 100 deutschmark bill propped open by an eagle.

"Section financière", 1970
In the "Section Financière" (Financial Section) (1970) of the "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles", Marcel Broodthaers declared the museum "to sell due to bankruptcy".

The ingot as a work of art has a sale price calculated at twice the market value of gold, the increase in value representing the value of art. The ingot came with a contract of sale and a written letter from the curator to avoid any counterfeit; one copy of the letter was locked in a safe in a bank in the name of the "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles".

The ingot is presented by Danh Vo. It was stamped with an eagle in the workshops at Monnaie de Paris. Like Broodthaers, Vo's practice encompasses collecting and curating in addition to artistic production.

"Cinéma Modèle (Programme La Fontaine)", 1970
This artwork which references a range of artists and authors, shows the realistic and deeply poetic cinema by Marcel Broodthaers. He continuously played on the themes of objects, words and images because he himself said "I'm not a filmmaker. movies for me are the extension of language" (Marcel Broodthaers in an interview in the magazine Trépied in 1968).

Marcel Broodthaers is inspired by La Fontaine and expressed the union between poetry (books), images (movies) and exhibition (objects, screens, photographic canvases...).

We see the influence of Mallarmé in the movie "La Pluie (Projet pour un texte)" (The Rain. Project for a text) (1969) in which Broodthaers, in the garden of the "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles", writes a text when it starts pouring with rain and consequently the water unrelentingly erases each word, each trace of the pen.

"Un film de Charles Baudelaire is not a movie for film-lovers. Why? Because it has been shot in the 19th Century. And film-lovers have never seen films from a time where Muybridge, the Lumières brothers and Edison were not born yet or were just doing their forst steps under industrial mummys and daddys' watch. But I am working on a movie where everyone can find something."

Marcel Broodthaers, text in "Cinéma Modèle", Kunstmuseum Winterthur, 2012

"Cinéma Modèle" was transformed by Marcel Broodthaers into the "Section Cinema" of his "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles".

Dans la "Section Cinéma"
"Un voyage à Waterloo (Napoléon 1769-1969)", 1969
A movie which tells part of the museum's history, "Un voyage à Waterloo (A trip to Waterloo) (1969) is presented in the Bookshop Flammarion - Monnaie de Paris.
Marcel Broodthaers : Musée d’Art Moderne - Département des Aigles
Credits: Story

Monnaie de Paris présents from 18 April to 5 July, the "Musée d'Art Moderne - Département des Aigles", the seminal work by Marcel Broodthaers, curated by Chiara Parisi in collaboration with Maria Gilissen Broodthaers.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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