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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathBroodthaers
Cover des Ausstellungskatalogs Marcel Broodthaers. Cinéma (Broodthaers, Marcel), 1968

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the acknowledgement of art’s current status as a documentary of received ideas might form a method to regain critical ground. [6]

Hence Broodthaers’ cinema was not simply one of arrested motion; it remained wrapped in the contradiction between a static image and a moving image. His cinema presents a text that is in the process of being written and has already been written: a text that, in animating the present, is immediately inscribed as past. The velocity of such cinematic writing, it appears, can never escape the gravitational force of historicity. However, in order to appreciate the curious temporality of this cinematographic method, we will need to draw the contours of its space of public performance. I propose to address this task in relation to a specific theater of film exhibition that was designed by Broodthaers. I am referring to the «Section Cinéma» that forms the seventh installment of his well-known museum fiction called the «Musée d’art Moderne, Départment des Aigles.» A project which ran for four years from 1968 to 1972 and saw twelve different editions before being dissolved at Documenta 5. The «Section Cinéma» was located in a cellar at


Burgplatz 12 in Düsseldorf from January 1971 to October 1972 (see the invitation card to «Section Cinéma»). [7] In a figurative sense, this subterranean space functioned as both a foundational and an archaeological site, which continuously wavered between a state of construction and dismantlement. In a more literal sense, the «Section Cinéma» fulfilled the combined function of storage facility, meeting place, production studio, film theater, and exhibition gallery.

1. «Section Cinéma»—The Silent Gesture of the Artist

Allow me to enter the first piece of evidence. Here is the masked artist enveloped in a swirl of smoke while he holds up a copy of a book for all to see. (Joaquin Romero Frias, Marcel Broodthaers holding Sadoul’s «L’Invention du cinéma»). The tome is entitled «L’Invention du cinema» (1832–1897) and it forms the first volume of George Sadoul’s classical «Histoire générale du cinema» that was published in 1948. This book finds its place as «figure 1» in the cinema section of the museum.

However, let me pause a moment before I pull the frame further back to reveal more of this museum

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