Marcel Broodthaers began his creative life as a poet not as a conceptual artist. Minuit is one of his earliest creative endeavors, and it is a volume of poetry that displays many of the hallmarks of his later work. Its cinematic and dream-like poems act as a stage set or tableau indirectly hinting at a dark fairytale. As a poet and visual artist, Broodthaers was deeply influenced by Stéphane Mallarmé’s explorations of language and symbols and in Minuit he responds to the Poesies of Mallarmé as well as Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. The poems here share the imagery of these earlier works, such as the themes of the window and the sky from Poesies and the motif of time from Les Fleurs du Mal.
Apart from the influence of these revered famous French poets, Minuit also displays Broodthaers’ own language and imagery, much of which he continued to rework into new forms throughout his brief career. The clock, the sea, the eagle, alphabets, and other images, which populate these painterly poems, are characteristic of much of his later work.
Copies of Minuit, published as a small sewn softcover letterpress book in a limited edition of 225 copies with an illustration by Serge Vandercam, are exceedingly scarce in North America. The version here is an unnumbered copy without the Vandercam illustration. It is in very good condition overall.