“Musée d’art moderne – département des Aigles, Marcel Broodthaers”, until 5 July, Monnaie de Paris, 11, Quai de Conti, Paris 6, www.monnaiedeparis.fr
AFTER HAVING EXHIBITED PAUL MCCARTHY’S CHOCOLATE FACTORY LAST AUTUMN/WINTER, LA MONNAIE DE PARIS HAS GIVEN NEW LIFE TO ONE OF THE MOST EMBLEMATIC ART PROJECTS OF ITS TIME: MUSÉE D’ART MODERNE – DÉPARTEMENT DES AIGLES BY MARCEL BROODTHAERS, WHICH IS CURATED BY CHIARA PARISI IN COLLABORATION WITH THE ARTIST’S WIDOW, MARIA GILISSEN BROODTHAERS. L’OFFICIEL ART INTERVIEWED BOTH WOMEN.
L’OFFICIEL ART: The exhibition is built around Musée d’Art moderne – Département des Aigles, a project conceived from 1968 to 1972 by Marcel Broodthaers that originally consisted of post cards, slide projections, shipping crates… was then presented in various locations and became the subject of private views, until the artist terminated it in 1972 at Documenta Kassel. Several years of research were necessary to bring the constituent elements of this ‘fictive museum’ back together—which version are you offering? CHIARA PARISI: In parallel with the work that we have undertaken with Maria Gilissen, which allows important details of the Section des Figures to be shown for the first time in 43 years, we have also enjoyed a long and fruitful collaboration with the same institutions and public and private collections that were contacted in 1972 by Marcel Broodthaers. We were able to reconstruct this legendary Section with help from each of them. For this exhibition, la Monnaie de Paris also supported a restauration programme in partnership with the lending institutions. This enabled us to restore prestigious pieces from the French collections, such as a work by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres from 1811, an 18th century wooden desk from the vestry of the Franciscan church in Nancy, and the gilding of an Aigle Empire from the Musée des Arts décoratifs de Paris. Since 1972, certain pieces ceased to be on public display and others, having become very fragile, could not leave their exhibition site, such as La Liberté, 1891 by Arnold Böcklin (the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, identified as Figure n°22 by Marcel Broodthaers) or Fontaine de Jouvence, 1957 by René Magritte (the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Figure n°181). The exhibition was co-curated by the artist’s widow, Maria Gilissen Broodthaers; how did your collaboration take form and what choices did you make in terms of museography and exhibition design? For three years, we met regularly in Brussels and in Paris, to piece together the years 1968-1972 during which Marcel Broodthaers developed his Musée and exhibited the twelve Sections in different places and different towns. We were also interested in the emphasis on the financial aspect and so the Balancier d'Austerlitz came in mind, which Broodthaers had wanted to exhibit in 1972 in Dusseldorf but
wasn’t able to as it was a key machine to production at Monnaie de Paris at this time (he requested images with which he created a montage). Today, in the exhibition, we will exhibit both the Balancier d'Austerlitz in the vestibule and Broodthaers’ photo montage in the Section des Figures. The presence of these two pieces brings to mind notions of ‘impression’ and ‘reproduction,’ ideas that were central to the artist’s work. We have also produced a Marcel Broodthaers medal and token with the workshop at the Monnaie de Paris, half-way between the Angélus de Daumier and the Section XIXe siècle.
Among the satellite events is a project by the artist: the Dîner Mallarmé, which will be interpreted by Guy Savoy following the menu put together by Broodthaers in 1965; what resonance does this have today? Guy Savoy is a gifted speaker with whom we love to work. This collaboration involves his interpretation of Dîner Mallarmé, an homage that Broodthers made to the great poet who, for him, personified diversity (in fashion, gastronomy, publishing, language, teaching, etc.).
Maria Gilissen Broodthaers, you have shared Marcel Broodthaers’ questionings and projects for many years; what do you recall about the construction and development of Musée d’Art moderne – Département des Aigles? MARIA GILISSEN BROODTHAERS: He founded the museum in 1968 and over four years opened a dozen sections (19th century, 19th century (sic), literary, folklore, 17th century, documentary, cinema, figures, publicity, financial, concluding the journey in 1972 with the Musée d’Art ancien). I was always surprised by his rigor, his humour, and the colossal quantity of work that he produced over a decade.
Marcel Broodthaers in 1972.