La soupe de Daguerre, 1975

Daguerre's Soup, 1975
Photograph, 52.7 x 51.5 cm

As in much of his Conceptual work, Broodthaers’ experiments with everyday objects and their linguistic signs are full of irony and often humour. La Soupe de Daguerre refers to the parallelism between chemical processes and liquids and cooking and photography. This is a collage of twelve photographs presented with aspects of taxonomy or classification, which is common practice in the work of the Belgian artist and poet. In this case, he refers to one of the inventors of photography in the nineteenth century, the Frenchman Louis Daguerre (1787–1851). The soup to which the title makes reference is represented by images of its ingredients: tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, leeks and fish. Instead of real food, this is a photographic representation in the case of the vegetables and a book illustration in the case of the fish. A label at the bottom presents the work as if it were exhibited in a museum: La Soupe de Daguerre. A fact that seems to say that all these images belong to the distant past, perhaps to the time of Louis Daguerre, and therefore are subject to ‘museum-isation’, another element that is often present in the artistic practice of Broodthaers.

As in many of his works, Brooodthaers is very ingenious in his interrogation of the commonly accepted system of linguistic signs and epistemological beliefs. But the images and their physical reality as photographs are the ingredients of a recipe to dispense with or dispose of the well-known systems of order and knowledge: a metaphorical soup that questions the usual mechanisms of representation. Despite its appearance of reality, this soup cannot be ingested as it is made of images. Although La Soupe de Daguerre can never be eaten, its appearance of freshness preserves the food for much longer than if it were composed of real vegetables. In the photographic process, something similar happens: despite the appearance of reality, it is a representation.

Technical details

Original title:
La soupe de Daguerre
Registration number:
Broodthaers, Marcel
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
C-Print, collage, screen print and printed ink on paper
52.7 x 51.5 cm (height x width)
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© Estate of Marcel Broodthaers, VEGAP, Barcelona
It has accessibility resources:

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