Marcel Broodthaers

A retrospective

04 Mar - 11 Jun 2017

Marcel Broodthaers, A Retrospective, K21
Marcel Broodthaers, A Retrospective, installation view at the K21, photo: Achim Kukulies
Marcel Broodthaers. A Retrospective presents a major overview of the multifaceted oeuvre of the Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers (1924 –1976), who formulated an idiosyncratic artistic position within the milieu of Pop, Minimalism, and Conceptual Art. When he was 40 years old, Broodthaers turned from poetry toward visual arts, and soon received acclaim within Europe's avant-garde scene for his displays and cinematographic works, with their stringent criticism of institutions.

This exhibition, which includes more than 400 works in the most diverse genres and media, has been organized meticulously over a period of more than four years by The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. The show finishes in Düsseldorf, a city that did much to promote Broodthaers' brief but highly productive artistic career. Broodthaers not only lived in Düsseldorf (from 1970 – 1972), he also received, assimilated, and reciprocated decisive impulses from the local art scene, which was networked internationally to an optimal degree.

A number of works and exhibitions came to fruition in Düsseldorf, among them the legendary show "Section des Figures" (Section of Figures), organized in 1972 at the Städtische Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, and a component of Broodthaers’ principal work, the Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles (Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles) (1968 –1972).

This long-awaited retrospective of the works of Marcel Broodthaers initiates viewers into a fascinating aesthetic universe – one that regards poetry as a "disturbance of the world order" and an "indirect political question," and that advocates a radically open-ended and processual approach to interpreting art, and hence represents a contribution to an understanding of art that remains valid today.