Several years ago S.M.A.K.
conceived a plan to provide a permanent place in the museum to display the works of art and documents of Marcel Broodthaers (Brussels, 1924 - Cologne, 1976) from its collection.
Since 1973, when the Friends of S.M.A.K. were able to buy Miroir dÉpoque Regency (1973), S.M.A.K. has continued to have a particular interest in Broodthaers work. Several other major works and documents have also been acquired since then. Shortly after its opening in 1999, for example, the museum procured Grande Casserole de Moules (1966) and also a collection of objects, editions, books, films, catalogues, posters and invitations. In 2006 the Flemish Community purchased the crucial work Le Pense-Bête (1964) and gave it on permanent loan to S.M.A.K.
The increasing significance of Broodthaers work as part of the collection gradually led to the idea of giving this oeuvre a permanent place in the museum. A place where the Broodthaers collection would not only be displayed, but also documented and set in a specific framework. Not as a monument or mausoleum in which the work is enclosed, but more like an intimate setting where encounters can take place and where Broodthaers work can be studied. To achieve this, in 2006 the museum held a competition in which three architects were asked to come up with a design for the project. The proposal ultimately selected was by architecten de vylder vinck taillieu. Their design devotes plenty of attention to Broodthaers work, but it combines it with the ease and practicality of a study centre. In terms of its form, the design clearly refers to the display cabinet, which Broodthaers used a great deal.
This gallery is located on the boundary between the museum and the Floralia Hall behind it. This is also where the exhibition entitled MARCEL/Het Broodthaerskabinet is being held. This puts the gallery on the fringes of the museum, which makes it supremely suited to reflecting on and questioning the workings of the museum, just as Broodthaers did. For this exhibition, a full-size replica of one of the rooms of the gallery has been built in the position planned for it. The lines marked on the large wall in the glass extension indicate where the openings into the hall behind will be. You can see more of the architecture in a series of drawings and a model that are also included in the exhibition. The work Miroir dÉpoque Regency reflects the area that in time will become the gallery.