Belgian artist and poet Marcel Broodthaers (1924-1976), a leading figure in 20th-century conceptual art, is the focus of Akbank Art Center’s newest exhibition opening this week, kicking off the new season at the Taksim-based center.
“Words, Things, Concepts,” opening on Thursday, was put together in collaboration with Belgium’s Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), a Ghent-based museum that boasts the largest collection of work by Broodthaers.
Curated by Hasan Bülent Kahraman, “Words, Things, Concepts” is significant because it is “the first time Broodthaers’ work is being exhibited in this extent,” the Akbank Art Center said in a press release issued late last week.
Broodthaers, a writer, poet, filmmaker, journalist and visual artist, put found objects at the heart of his works, in which he also made extensive use of words and text as subjects. As an artist actively involved in Brussels’ intellectual community, Broodthaers had published two poetry books and produced one film by 1960. In 1961, he began to prepare slide projects that he defined as “Système de lecture” or “Photo-film.”
Broodthaers mainly focused on the relationship between an object’s image and its meaning in his work. His visual art career began in 1964, when he embedded 50 unsold copies of his book of poems called “Pense-Bête” in plaster. That same year, he exhibited daily objects, texts and drawings, most of which included verbal and visual allusions, in a solo exhibition that included his made books and catalogues.
Set to run until Nov. 29, the Akbank Art Center exhibition will be accompanied by conferences on Broodthaers and film screenings.