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Une Seconde d'Eternité (D'après une idée de Charles Baudelaire), 1970

A Second of Eternity (After an Idea by Charles Baudelaire), 1970

In 1969, Broodthaers attended Lucien Goldman’s seminary on Charles Baudelaire and the following year made Un Film de Charles Baudelaire, in addition to Une seconde d’eternité (A Second of Eternity) and others in which he transferred the French poet’s intuitions to the present.

This film, also entitled La Signature (and even Ma signature), was made using animation techniques. Broodthaers traced the strokes of his signature on 24 frames of film (one second), capturing each one with an opening of the camera aperture; in other words he opened the shutter every time that he changed or manipulated the image. He made 18 drawings with the aim of establishing the sequence that had to be followed. When the film was screened in the galleria Folker Skulima, the illusion of movement contrasted with the immobility of the piece of film itself, which was exhibited as a publication, together with two plastic plaques that reproduced frame 24. A Second of Eternity was also projected on a closed loop at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, in October 1971, in the context of the huge Prospeck 71 international exhibition. Broodthaers subsequently presented the film on many occasions using a normal projector as part of a festival or exhibition, as in Films als Objekt — Objekt als Film, which took place in the Städtisches Museum in Munchengladbach from October to November 1971. In 1972 he included it as a section of his film Rendez-vous mit Jacques Offenbach. As has been mentioned previously, the film can be considered at the same time a reflection on the very nature of the cinematographic medium as well as a self-portrait of the artist.

Referring to the film, Broodthaers commented, “It’s a very short film, in fact it lasts a second, and it’s called Une seconde d’eternité (A Second of Eternity). It’s very important to me because I think that with it I evidence a certain artistic reality which is expressed on the artistic plane. On the other hand, I think that the basis of artistic creation rests on a Narcissistic foundation. The film is called Une seconde d’eternité. In a certain way it’s inspired in the work of Charles Baudelaire. I enjoyed making it very much because that graphic, which lasts only one second, at the same time constitutes a fiction film. It seems to me that the author’s signature, be it that of an artist, a filmmaker or a poet, matters little; it is the beginning of a system of lies that all poets, all artists, try to establish to defend themselves, I don’t exactly know against what.”

Marcel Broodthaers, Cinéma. Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 1997.

Technical details

Original title:
Une Seconde d'Eternité (D'après une idée de Charles Baudelaire)
Registration number:
Broodthaers, Marcel
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Audiovisual recording
35 mm film transferred to 16 mm, b/w, without sound, 1s
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
© Estate of Marcel Broodthaers, VEGAP, Barcelona
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