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Abstract

In 1967 Susan Sontag published her essay, "The Aesthetics of Silence,” on the craving towards silence in artistic movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Even though it appears that notions of silence are still influential within the visual arts, theoretical writings on silence are nearly absent. This article explores how notions of silence emerged in the early works of Marcel Broodthaers, by scrutinizing his works, related to Pense-Bête, together with the writings of Susan Sontag and related ideas from Stéphane Mallarmé and Theodor Adorno. Through a vivisection of these early works of Broodthaers, this article argues how silence is visualized within his works and how Broodthaers deployed silence as a method to convey his artistic message: as an expression of critique; as a mode to navigate through various artistic movements; and as a strategy to disrupt representational methods and transcend the boundaries between different mediums.

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