Marcel Broodthaers: A Retrospective

*Décor: A Conquest by Marcel Broodthaers*

Marcel Broodthaers. Décor: A Conquest by Marcel Broodthaers. 1975 66501

Marcel Broodthaers (Belgian, 1924–1976). Décor: A Conquest by Marcel Broodthaers. 1975. Mixed-medium installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy Michael Werner Gallery, New York and London, and Estate Marcel Broodthaers. Exhibition view with Salle XIXe siècle (Nineteenth-century room). Photo: Maria Gilissen. Image courtesy Maria Gilissen Archives of Marcel Broodthaers. © 2016 Estate of Marcel Broodthaers/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SABAM, Brussels

Francesca: Broodthaers exhibited Décor: A Conquest by Marcel Broodthaers at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, in 1975. It’s two rooms —one devoted to the 19th century and the other to the 20th century. The objects speak to both comfort and war.

Broodthaers was becoming increasingly ill around this time and planned many of his late exhibitions and retrospectives knowing that his death was imminent. It’s interesting to note some of his first objects reappear in his last works of art. It seems like following his path as an artist is like following a circle rather than a straight line. For Broodthaers, any given object means nothing when taken in isolation. It’s all about relationships, context, and generating reflection.

I think we should end our tour here with Broodthaers’s own words.

Broodthaers, Christophe Cherix: I discovered nothing, nothing, not even America. I chose to consider Art as useless labor, apolitical and scarcely moral.. Urged on by some ignoble inspiration, I confess I would experience a kind of
pleasure at being proved wrong. A guilty pleasure, since it would be
at the expense of the victims, those who thought I was right.

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