Marcel Broodthaers filled his twelve-year artistic career with more ideas and works than most artists manage in a lifetime. This career began in 1964, following more than two decades labouring in some obscurity as a poet in the Belgian Surrealist circle of René Magritte and Paul Nougé. He also wrote articles on art during these years, including early critiques of Pop art.
Traversing media freely – from installation and sculpture to artist’s books, prints, film and writings – Broodthaers embodied the ‘post-media artist’ for whom any form could be recruited in the service of a larger conception. Those conceptions included institutional critique (of which he is a pioneer), art-historical critique, pastiche and philosophical-linguistic puzzles.
Edited by Broodthaers daughter Marie-Puck, the book includes a range of both classic and never-before-seen works, a biography, exhibition chronology and a selected bibliography.
'I asked myself if I could not sell something and succeed in life. I had for quite a while been good for nothing … Finally the idea of inventing something insincere came to me and I got to work immediately'