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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathBroodthaers
Section Cinéma (Broodthaers, Marcel), 1971

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the past but feints a return to what might be called the primal scene of cinema. This historical dimension of Broodthaers’ cinema should never be lost from sight.

2. The Pipe – Magritte und Foucault

If I now continue to widen our frame of vision, we can see arranged against a white-washed wall a set of twelve objects, among which a pipe, a smoke bomb, a clock, a calendar, a mirror, a winder, and a mask such as the one worn by Broodthaers in the photograph. (Photomontage by Joaquin Romero Frias of the «Section Cinéma»). An inscription, such as fig. 1, fig. 2, fig. 12, etc., accompanies each of these objects. A chest contained a second set of twelve objects, including Sadoul’s book. And, finally, against an adjacent wall stood a toy piano beneath a framed sign carried the bilingual title of this artifice, namely «Musée- Museum«.

The majority of these objects starred as props in Broodthaers’ previous films such as the series of short silent movies based upon René Magritte’s painting «Ceci n’est pas une pipe.»


The first in the series was «La Pipe (Magritte)» («Ceci ne serait pas une pipe,» 1969–71). The film was shot with a stationary camera that registered all the possible combinations of an empty white wall, a pipe, a clock, and billowing smoke. To this original footage, Broodthaers later added the engraved captions Figure I, Figure II, or Figures, according to a now familiar system. On the level of the individual film, i.e. «La Pipe,» Broodthaers obsessively, if not perversely, mimics a capitalist logic of serial reproduction: an identical thing repeated over and over again until all movement blurs into the same. That which changes in the film is the captions. They substitute for the lived experience of the object, similar to the fashion slogans of publicity, but without offering the same comforting illusion of content. The instrumental language of advertising that once was cited by Magritte at one remove has now swallowed his painting whole, or so it seems. «Matter has gone up in smoke,» Broodthaers declared in 1971, and «the object is spoken, written, or filmed

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