Loading...

Atlas, 1975

Graphic work (editions), 48.8 x 62.8 cm
A printed sheet comprises all the images on the pages of a miniature book. Rows of vertical lines delineate the intended position of the pages, as in a maquette or printer’s proof. The pages are untrimmed, thus denying the book its readability, with the sheet containing the thirty-two countries acting as a reminder of this unfulfilled function.
An ordinary atlas offers a diagrammatic and somehow aseptic representation of the world, while also acting as a conveyor of meaning. To demonstrate that signs are entirely arbitrary, Broodthaers disrupts the normal sets of conventions that generate meaning, such as the sense of scale (all countries are the same size, from Andorra to Canada), eliminates all geographical features such as rivers or mountains and presents them as individually isolated. The fact that countries appear as abstract shapes akin to ink blots reminds us of the work of Stéphane Mallarmé, one of Broodthaers’ most referential authors, and his experimental treatment of words in Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (A throw of the dice will never abolish chance), 1897. As its title suggests, Broodthaers dedicates this work to artists and soldiers, since, for him, an artist should fight against all artistic restrictions and classifications like a soldier on the front line.

Technical details

Original title:
Atlas
Registration number:
1581
Artist:
Broodthaers, Marcel
Date created:
1975
Date acquired:
2000
Fonds:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Graphic work (editions)
Media:
Offset print on Ingres paper
Dimensions:
48.8 x 62.8 cm (height x width)
Edition number:
31/50
Credits:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Copyright:
© Estate of Marcel Broodthaers, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:
No

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

If you need a high resolution image of the work, you must submit an image loan request.

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life
Jean-Michel Basquiat