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S.M.A.K. creates a space for the permanent presentation of the works of Marcel Broodthaers
Marcel Broodthaers, Grande Casserole de Moules, 1966. Metal, mussel shells, paint, wood, glass. Collectie Vrienden v/h S.M.A.K. Acquired in 2001.


GHENT.- The Marcel Broodthaerskabinet is a space that S.M.A.K. has created for the permanent presentation of, among other things, the works of the Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers (1924-76) that are held in the museum’s collection. Broodthaers made his name as one of the most influential figures in 20thcentury art. During his lifetime, the impact of his artistic practice was not only felt in his own country. He soon made his international breakthrough with work that forms a lasting legacy.

Broodthaers’ career as an artist began with the work Le Pense-Bête (1964), which is considered as the pivotal point between his life first as a poet and later as an artist. By fixing a number of unsold copies of one of his books of poetry in a lump of plaster, he made it impossible to read them and thus made their content inaccessible. This signalled the genesis of an ‘object’, which, to his great surprise, as an art object, elicited much more interest than the poems themselves ever did. Broodthaers referred to Le Pense-Bête as his first proposition artistique, his first act as a visual artist.

It would be hard to overrate the role Marcel Broodthaers played when it comes to thinking about (the place of) art, its function and history. His oeuvre offers an excellent reflection on the meaning of art and its institutions (e.g. museums). This is why, as a museum with one of Belgium’s most substantial public collections of contemporary art, S.M.A.K. wishes to focus on this artist by establishing a ‘free-state’ where his far-reaching influence can be remembered, revitalised and carried forward.

Besides an exhibition room, the Marcel Broodthaerskabinet will also be a forum for exhibitions, (archival) presentations, talks, colloquia and similar events, compiled and organised by artists, friends, curators, experts and others who wish to gain more in-depth insights into Marcel Broodthaers’ oeuvre.





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