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Marcel Broodthaers Biography

Known for his humor and wit, Marcel Broodthaers began his career as poet, albeit an unsuccessful one. After two decades of poverty, Broodthaers decided to become an artist in 1963 seemingly for the purpose of making money. One of his first sculptures was to set 50 volumes of his book of poems, called Pense-Bete, in plaster. The work was symbolic because the volumes were unsold indicating his lack of success as a poet. Though he spent the last part of his life in Germany and London, Broodthaers was Belgian by birth. As a frustrated poet, words still managed to play a large role in his art. The brochure for his first exhibit displayed an intro which included the phrase, “…the idea of inventing something insincere finally crossed my mind and I set to work straightaway.” In this brochure, Broodthaers implies with cynicism that his art to some degree had a lesser importance than that of his poetry, or at least that it was a means to an end. In addition to sculptures, Broodthaers produced over 50 short films and he dabbled in photography. Broodthaers early sculptures often consisted of two materials: mussel shells and egg shells. It was in this way that Broodthaers is thought of as a Surrealist but others suggest that the shells of both the mussels and the eggs were an extension of his familiarity with poverty and hunger. In the latter portion of his career, his sculptures became larger and challenged the notion of art and an art exhibit. The work La Salle Blanche consists of a life-size replica of his Brussels apartment covered in terms associated with

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