S.M.A.K. opens the Broodthaerskabinet

22.01.2019 - Editorial

From March to the end of April, the S.M.A.K. (Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art Ghent) will host an exhibition featuring, notably, the works of Marcel Broodthaers.

Now considered one of the most influential figures of the art history in the 20th century, Broodthaers initially struggled as a poet until the age of 40, when he quickly rose to the top of the art world upon trying his hand at visual arts by taking unsold copies of his latest volume of poetry Pense-Bête (Memory Aid) and encasing them in a mix of plaster and other materials. Repurposing his “failed” poetry into something new, a sculpture that was considered to be successful, he brought fourth ideas present in the rest of his artistic output, such as the pursuit of preserving ideas of experience.

Pense-Bête (1964)

Over the next 12 years, Broodthaers worked across mediums such as poetry, sculpture, painting, artist’s books, printmaking and film. He engaged with identity, helped provide fresh attention to Belgian’s art for the first time after the Second World War (during which he was a resistant, by the way) and questioned the meaning of national identity. He often incorporated humor and language as source material, retaining a poetic quality and making his conceptual work accessible to a broader public. Much of his work exposes how art is often taken over by an elite, by the state, or by commerce, and attempts to reclaim the exhibition of art as a catalogue of an artist’s experience.

Marcel Broodthaers

S.M.A.K. presents the Broodthaerskabinet, which includes Pense-Bête, the apparently forgettable poetry that would become memorable, and several other key artworks, such as 289 Oeufs or Grande Casserole de Moules.

It starts on the 10th of March and ends on the 30th of April.

Jan Hoetplein 1, 9000 Gent

+32 (0)9 240 76 01



Miroir d’Époque Regency (1973)




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