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Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’abolira le Hasard

Marcel Broodthaers (book artist)
Stéphane Mallarmé (based upon)
Galerie Wide White Space and Galerie Michael Werner; Antwerpen, Holland and Köln
Edition: One of 90 copies

The model for this approximate image is the original edition of the poem A Throw of the Dice will Never Abolish Chance by Stephane Mallarmé, published in 1914 by the Librairie Gallimard. This work is thus a homage to the 1887 modernist poem of which Broodthaers wrote: “Mallarmé is at the source of modern art. ... He unwittingly invented modern space”.

Mallarmé’s poem proposed to liberate language from conventions of space and typography by stretching sentences across spreads and using multiple typefaces to abstract both form and content. In designing his edition, Broodthaers blocked out the lines of the original work with solid black bars of varying width, dependent on the original type size, turning the original text into an abstract image of the poem (Broodthaers also replaced the word Poème, on the title page, with Image).

Mallarmé’s poem was published in three different editions with varying paper types. Broodthaers copied this approach: the edition consists of 10 copies on anodised aluminium numbered I to X, and 90 copies on mechanographical transparent paper numbered 1 to 90: the whole constituting an original edition.

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