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Footprints of a collector: Reiner Speck - Mallarmé, Broodthaers et les autres

08.10.2022 - 16.12.2022
Footprints of a collector Berlin

With this first in a series of planned exhibitions, Galerie Michael Werner focuses not on the artist, but on the collector. Exhibits from Collection Speck will provide an overview of that part of Marcel Broodthaers' oeuvre that emerged in connection with his lifelong preoccupation with the French writer Stéphane Mallarmé.

The artist first revealed his affinity for this poet in 1969 in a monographic presentation at Wide White Space in Antwerp: The exhibition focused, among other things, on one of Mallarmé's most famous poems: Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard (in one of the numerous English translation attempts: A throw of the dice will never bring down chance).

It is around this time that the artist begins to approach the creator of this poème, published posthumously in 1914. This manifests itself in Broodethaers' now most famous version of the Poème, which he called image. In it, the lines of text of the sentence arranged like a picture were obliterated by black bars, and the volume, following the model and French book tradition, was published in three variants.

Broodthaer's examination of one of Mallarmé's most outstanding works, which built bridges between art and literature in terms of content and form, marked the beginning of an epochal influence on many other artists to question the work critically or affirmatively, or even to continue writing it. The 1914 edition of the nrf poem, to this day closely associated with every reading of Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard, even through its appearance, became the archetype of these later paraphrases and appropriations. Depending on the iconographic reservoir, meaningful designations such as image, sculpture, omage, delay, livre, etc. emerged in light of the original title Poème.

Numerous examples of the aforementioned artistic approach can be seen in the exhibition, the No. 1 of 10 copies of the original French edition of Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard, Marcel Broodthaer's paraphrases, the many later appropriations of a subsequent generation of artists and poets, and, as a capstone, a long letter by Marcel Proust in which he explains his turning away from the long revered Mallarmé: contre l'obscurité. The range of transformation from language to abstract image that characterizes the entire oeuvre of Marcel Broodthaers is illustrated by a large number of accompanying works by the artist. This exhibition continues the reception history of the mysterious poem that more than a century ago turned word into image.

The exhibition Broodthaers, Mallarmé et les autres will open on Wednesday, June 1, 2022 from 6 to 9 pm. At 6:30 p.m., Prof. Dr. Winfried Wehle will give a lecture on Mallarmé's poem Un coup de dés jamais n'abolira le hasard. The exhibition is on view at Galerie Michael Werner, Gertrudenstraße 24-28, 50667 Cologne, Germany, until July 23, 2022. A catalog is in preparation. Opening hours: Tue-Fri 10am-6pm, Saturday 11am-4pm. For more information, call 02219254620 or visit 


Galerie Michael Werner

Hardenbergstr. 9a 
10623 Berlin 
Phone: +49 30 31491880 

Opening hours: 
Tuesday to Friday 11 - 18 h 
Saturday 10 - 16 h

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