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Between the Arts. The Journalistic Work of Marcel Broodthaers

Project leader:
Hannah Bruckmüller

Funded by:
Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) | DOC

Hannah Bruckmüller, Institute for Art Theory and Cultural Studies
Duration: 1.10.2016 – 30.9.2019

Marcel Broodthaers has initiated a radical questioning of the concept of work and the conventions of exhibition with his artistic work. Today he is considered one of the most important artists of the European post-war avant-garde, and art history counts him among the founding fathers of institutional critique. In 1964, Broodthaers justified the beginning of his artistic career by turning away from poetry: This frequently cited change of discipline, however, does not take place as abruptly and suddenly as Broodthaers' work is propagated and often negotiated by researchers. Journalistic production forms a hitherto little-noticed facet of Broodthaers' work that accompanies his artistic development. This specific constellation of writing, image and print, which is embedded in the tightly woven corset of conditions of a particular mode of publication, is clearly related to Broodthaers' oeuvre as a whole.

The research project pursues those references and interests that are expressed in the journalistic work. The aim is a comprehensive reassessment of Broodthaers' journalistic production as an integral part of his artistic work. The focus is on motivic links as well as production conditions, strategies of form-finding, references and modes of narration. For this reason, it is first necessary to develop an adequate conceptual nomenclature that is capable of analytically capturing cross-disciplinary relations, strategies and mechanisms. The research project is thus situated at the level of formative and conceptual procedures that pursue a concretization of references and structural analogies between Broodthaers' fields of work. In this way, the connections between forms of work that have hitherto been negotiated largely separately are to be rethought and reformulated.

With the journalistic work, a form of production will be examined that has hitherto been classified as marginal due to its practical, service-providing connotation. However, in view of the historiographical paradigm shift that is also evident in art history, the journalistic work is to be regarded as an essential component of the artistic position that Broodthaers represents. The examination of the material is also motivated by contemporary demands for interdisciplinary compatibility: Text production is increasingly understood and assumed to be part of artistic practice. Such aspirations and demands are already evident in Broodthaers' oeuvre as a whole. Due to its specific situation in his oeuvre, journalistic production consequently sets a precedent with regard to questions of the form and status of the work of art in contemporary art.