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Je Hais le Mouvement Qui Déplace les Lignes

Broodthaers, Marcel. Charles Baudelaire

Hamburg. Edition Hossmann. 1973
A superb copy of the édition de tête of the 'édition originale' of Marcel Broodthaers' anonymous artist book - the first of 3 lettered copies and one of only 13 signed by the artist - inspired by Baudelaire's sonnet 'La Beauté'.

From the edition limited to 338 copies, with this one of 3 lettered copies, inscribed 'A' and initialled 'M B', on papier Roemerturm Alt Xanten à la cuve conforming to the édition de tête signed and numbered by Broodthaers in ink; the remaining copies, on different paper, were neither signed nor numbered.

Broodthaers, in signature playful style, designated the édition de tête of thirteen copies (i.e. the three lettered and ten numbered examples he signed) as forming the true original edition ('formant authentiquement l'édition originale') of his work. The other 300 copies of the book, those he neither signed nor numbered, were designated by Broodthaers as the first edition ('première édition'); a further 25 copies were marked 'S. P' and were 'reservés à la presse'. Broodthaers hierarchy is subtle but important and characteristic of the way he presented his books.

For Broodthaers, the French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire, the historical period he occupied, and the literary figures such as Dumas and Mallarmé who preceded and followed him, was of central interest. In the winter of 1969 / 1970 Broodthaers had participated in a seminar on Baudelaire conducted by the literary sociologist Lucien Goldmann, a symposium that had a profound impact on the artist. In the five years that followed, Baudelaire would provide the inspiration for several of Broodthaers’s works: in 1970, he made a seven-minute film called 'A Film by Charles Baudelaire (Political Map of the World)', in 1972, as part of an exhibition in Paris, he produced a series of prints that included one titled 'Charles Baudelaire Paints', 1973 saw the present work, 'Je Hais le Mouvement Qui Déplace les Lignes', and the following year, 1974, Broodthaers published 'Charles Baudelaire / Pauvre Belgique', with the entirety of Baudelaire's condemnatory text - Baudelaire had detested his time in Belgium - omitted.

In 'Je Hais le Mouvement Qui Déplace les Lignes', Broodthaers takes Baudelaire's sonnet 'La Beauté' from the 'Spleen et Idéal' section of 'Les Fleurs du Mal' (1857), prints it in full on the second leaf but with line seven of the second stanza in red, that line becoming the title of the book. This page is designated at the head '(Fig. 1)' and the following eight pages each feature, at the foot, a word in sequence from that line, together with a changing typographical mise en page of'Fig. 1', 'Fig. 2' and so on. These variations concluded, Baudelaire's sonnet is reprinted, but with the original red line now in black and 'les étoiles' in the penultimate line of the ultimate stanza in red. This page is designated '(Fig. 2)' while the following page, with the justification, is designated '(Fig. 0)' and the final page with Broodthaers' own quotation is assigned '(Fig. 12)'; the final flourish is the rear cover - the front cover makes no mention of Broodthaers but only Baudelaire - which is marked '(Fig. A)'. All of the brackets for the 'figure' designations are Broodthaers' own.

With these 'figures' established, the typographic variation in the mise en page with the words from the original red line takes on significance and establishes an ongoing interplay between the poem and words of Baudelaire, the line 'Je hais le mouvement qui déplace les lignes' and the words 'les étoiles' in particular, the thoughts of Broodthaers concerning Baudelaire, as well as the artist book as a work - that red line becoming the title of the work - and as an object. It is worth noting that Broodthaers as the author of this work is uncredited (the book is more of an imaginary or ersatz book by Baudelaire), the cover making no reference to him, and his name features only on the page '(Fig. 12)' with his own quotation. In that quotation (see below) Broodthaers stresses that he took part in Goldman's seminar as 'artiste', that word printed in italics.

In 1971, in a similar fashion to the subsequent 'Je Hais le Mouvement Qui Déplace les Lignes', Broodthaers produced a Mönchengladbach Kassettenkataloge consisting of a series of matryoshka-like boxes designated 'Fig. 1', 'Fig. 2', 'Fig. 0' and 'Fig 12'. A text by Johannes Cladders to the underside of each of the boxes is designated 'Fig. A' and serves as a key or rubric to the catalogue multiple. The figures in the present artist book work in a similar way, '(Fig. A)' in particular, and it is worth quoting a detail from the Mönchengladbach text, a quotation in German by Broodthaers that in a sense unlocks the works: 'Fig. A bezeichnet meine Mitarbeit am Text, bevor ich ihn gelesen habe.'

'Ce livre trouve son origine dans un séminaire de Lucien / Goldmann sur Baudelaire, tenu à Bruxelles l'hiver / 1969 - 1970, auquel j'avais été invité à participer comme 'artiste'.' / MARCEL BROODTHAERS'. (Broodthaers' text on the final leaf).

[Ceuleers 39; Jamar 38; Werner 15].
[8 unnumbered leaves]. Small folio. (320 x 250 mm). Leaf with half-title ('Fig. 1 / Fig. 2 / Fig. 0 / Fig. 1 2 / Fig. A'), leaf with Baudelaire's sonnet 'La Beauté' printed in black with a single line printed in red (the title of the present work) and headline '(Fig. 1)', verso and following 4 leaves each with a single word from the same line at foot of page in black and typographical variations of the half-title, leaf with with Baudelaire's sonnet 'La Beauté' repeated in black with 'les étoiles' printed in red and headline '(Fig. 2)' recto, justification verso with headline '(Fig. 0)', leaf with quotation by Broodthaers' recto with headline '(Fig. 12)'. Original publisher's white printed wrappers with titles in red and black to front cover and (Fig. A) in black to rear.