Collection

Marcel Broodthaers 'Atlas', 1975

Atlas

Fecha:
1975
Tipo obra:
Graphic material
Material:
Offset print on Ingres paper
Medidas:
48,8 x 62,8 cm
Número Ejemplar:
Procedencia:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Registre núm:
1581

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.

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