The Drift - Kōrewa: Decor and Conquest, or Marcel Broodthaers’s Message in a Bottle.
The Drift-Kōrewa: Decor and Conquest, or Marcel Broodthaers’s Message in a Bottle
Digital Presentation by Julia Lomas.
Thursday 8 April
Meeting ID: 968 1015 3239
In June 1975, the Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers mounted an exhibition of rented props at the London ICA. Comprised of decommissioned weapons from a company that supplied the film industry, as well as furniture and decorative items from a nearby department store, the exhibition was a succinct encapsulation of the concept Broodthaers named “decor”, a mode of delivery for his late exhibition practice over 1974-1975.
Drawing on the prompts that Broodthaers gave his audiences, this discussion will consider the relationship between ‘war and comfort’ that this exhibition promulgated. More broadly, however, it will also seek to find ways of understanding Broodthaers’s ideas on ‘conquest’ and art when applied to the history of conquest in Aotearoa New Zealand (for example). For another prevalent theme in Broodthaers’s work was the concept of ‘the message in a bottle’, and he made numerous works relating to both this motif, and also to atlases and other cartographic instruments. In the exhibition that followed the ICA presentation, he alluded to the presence of a message consigned to him, “from another hemisphere.” This talk will conclude by asking what it means to consider the legacies of (northern hemisphere) art histories from the contexts of settler colonialism in the South Pacific, and to question what messages could be sent and received across the oceans of time and understanding that lie between Broodthaers’s time and ours.
Julia Lomas is a researcher at MADA, Monash University. Her doctoral research explored the concept of “decor” that the Belgian artist and poet Marcel Broodthaers developed over his late exhibitions of 1974-1975.
Image: Marcel Broodthaers, detail from Salle Outremer, L'Angelus de Daumier (1975).
Jacques Faujour, courtesy Centre Pompidou.