24 Images Seconde
35 mm b/w filmstrip and pencil on cardboard
50 x 65 cm
“Mais qu'importe l'éternité de la damnation à qui a trouvé dans une seconde l'infini de la jouissance!”
Charles Baudelaire, French poet, spoke in his volume "Le Spleen de Paris" (1869) of the one second of infinite joy that can outweigh the eternity of damnation. The Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers shortened his idea to "one second of eternity" in his film "Une Seconde d'Eternité (D'après une idée de Charles Baudelaire)" (1970). One second of film, played in 24 frames in an eternal loop, showing only the line formation of two letters: M.B.
The work "24 Images Seconde," French for 24 images second, is a print of the entire film. The film strip shows all the image snippets and gives an overview of the gradual appearance of the letters. They are the initials of the artist. Laid out on cardboard, the stills are hand-numbered in pencil, supplemented by the title, the renewed initials M.B., the edition number 40/50 as well as the place (Berlin) and year (70). What seems to be a work from the picture editing desk, processed for production, is an allusion on several levels: the signature, a gesture by the artist to immortalise himself, is the centre of the creation of content. It was once individual and inimitable, but in the age of technical reproducibility in the context of film it suddenly stands as infinitely repeatable, generic, and mechanical.
"It seems to me that the signature of the author, be it that of an artist, a filmmaker or a poet, counts for little; it is the beginning of a system of lies that all poets, all artists try to establish in order to defend themselves, I don't know exactly against what." Broodthaers, like Baudelaire, was a poet. He started with the visual arts by placing his poems in showcases and suddenly they were perceived as art. "Une Seconde d'Eternité" writes itself, work with the hands is absent, and even the work itself is absent, while the only thing remaining present is the signing of the work. "24 Images Seconde" in turn perpetuates this artist's narcissism and at the same time deprives it of any artist's myth: one second in a film can outweigh an eternity of poetry. Or something like that...