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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathBroodthaers

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claims that a further value remains in evidence. The objects retain an obstinate presence, which resists their complete sublation within either the spatialized domain of affirmative speech or the dematerialized realm of the simulacral. Progress, movement, all this comic animation, momentarily falters when confronted with the materiality of an «already written«trace; with, that is, a «readable texture«of wood, glass, metal, and fabric. This texture, Broodthaers maintains, avoids the leveling process of technological reproduction. «I would never have obtained this kind of complexity», Broodthaers concludes, «with technological objects, whose singleness condemns the mind of monomania: minimal art, robot, computer». [21] But, even now, the series is not complete.

4. «Silence«

At the opening of the «Section Cinéma,» Broodthaers announced that he would withdraw the exhibited objects and place them on sale. The ensemble of objects, he contended, could not achieve a permanent place in a museum that leads, after all, a fictional existence. After being sold to the


Mönchengladbach Museum, the only clues referring to the once present objects were the painted abbreviations «fig.» on the wall. To which a further word was added: «Silence.» A word that in the absence of any enunciative markers seems to oscillate between the imperative—«Silence!»—the descriptive «Here reigns silence». A word, therefore, that wavers between a performative and an affirmative mode of speech.

Let me suggest how we might locate the historical significance of this simple, yet enigmatic word ‹silence›. And where else to start than one last time with Foucault? «All that is needed«, he writes, is that «a figure resemble an object… and that alone is enough for there to slip into the pure play of the painting a statement –obvious, banal, repeated a thousand times yet almost silent. (It is like an infinite murmur –haunting, enclosing the silence of the figures, investing it, mastering it, extricating the silence from itself, and finally reversing it within the domain of things that can be named.)» [22] Modernism, like the hushed space of the museum itself, was a silent art, but could nonetheless not stop the reifying process of

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