Petite tour avec 31 yeux à 4 étages

Marcel Broodthaers


Sculpture, 32.5 x 18 x 18 cm.
Materials: silkscreened paper, plastic jars, Plexiglas and steel nuts and bolts

Collection: Privécollectie.

One of the first ways in which Broodthaers integrates photography into his work is by incorporating cutouts from magazines. Between 1965 and 1966 Broodthaers created a number of towers with glass jars. The jars are filled with photos of mouths, eyes or faces that originated from magazines. Petite tour avec 31 yeux à 4 étages is one of those towers. The use of materials from the mass media brings to mind pop art collages, whereas the use of real objects in an artwork (like a glass jar) is reminiscent of the practice of the Nouveau Réalists. At the time, the work of Broodthaers was included in such exhibitions as Pop Art, Nouveau Réalisme, etc. at the Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels in 1965 and in Pop Art, Nieuwe Figuratie, Nouveau Réalisme in Knokke-Zoute in 1970. In a 1965 article on his own work Broodthaers states that his meeting with pop art, more specifically with the work of George Segal, encouraged him to make art. Simultaneously he criticised the movement. In his article “Gare au défi! Le Pop Art, Jim Dine et l’influence de René Magritte” he called the figures of Segal “vulgaires moulages d’êtres humains”. This interpretation of the figures as mere empty shells, would lead to the use of mussels (‘moules’) in his work. Petite tour avec 31 yeux à 4 étages not only includes references to pop art and Nouveau Réalisme, it also draws on Surrealism. Isolating body parts, more specifically the eye, is a common practice of the surrealists due to its alienating effect.

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