Pense Bete

Pense-Bete, 1964, is often cited as a turning point in Broodthaers's life, from being a (relatively obscure) poet to a (rather successful) artist. However, in many senses he continued as a poet while the visual elements of his books of poetry were always highly considered. In this work he set in plaster the 50 remaining unsold copies of his last edition of poetry of the same title, half still in their wrapping paper. In contrast to the crisp appearance of the books, the base is rather messy with the plaster apparently built up quickly by hand over a ball made of plastic, a material redolent of popular culture. The books could still be lifted off the base and read (although not in the current display), but by doing so the integrity of the work would be destroyed. Pense-Bete means 'memory aide', as when tying a knot in a handkerchief or a string around a finger, and trans lates literally as 'Think Beast' or 'Think Stupid'. Thus the object operates on a number of levels, combining word and image, object and poetry, humour and the process of making (Schultz).

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License