The plastic poems of Marcel Broodthaers

21 October 2021 - 09 January 2022

For the start of the autumn season, WIELS, the contemporary art centre, is launching an exhibition dedicated to contemporary artist Marcel "Broodthaers - Industrial poems, open letters". The former Brussels brewery, with its huge rooms, is presenting a series of plaques by the Belgian artist in a spacious environment.

Born in Saint-Gilles in 1924, Marcel Broodthaers, a great admirer of Stéphane Mallarmé, abandoned his chemistry studies at the Université libre de Bruxelles and began his career as a poet at the end of the war, showing a deep admiration for the paradoxes painted by René Magritte. In 1964, he switched from writing to the visual arts, covering around fifty copies of his book of poems Le Pense-Bête in plaster. His main inspiration was an interrogation of the nature and function of language through art.

The plastic plaques on display at WIELS illustrate the theme of the paradox between language and visual art around which his entire oeuvre revolves. The plastic poems are projected, and the letters and words are small sculptures. They are, in a way, the culmination of concrete poetry and pop art. Marcel Broodthaers gave them countless different meanings by not respecting the rules of spelling and grammar. They are comparable to street signs - puzzles and rebuses using pictograms, characters and punctuation marks.

The exhibition is open until 9 January 2022 (practical information: WIELS - Centre for Contemporary Art - Brussels Museums).