Marcel Mariën Fragments

Remnants of Marcel Mariën’s (archival) objects were discovered in Jan Van Veen’s apartment while it was being cleared, which is how they ended up at the CKV for study. The remnants consist of a small hotchpotch of pieces. And still, discovering with the Marcel Mariën Foundation’s Frank Castelyns how these fragments are situated within a broader context, remains well worth the effort.

And indeed, at first (informal) glance, in fact, there does appear to be material suitable for supplementing the catalogue raisonné as data about the works of art. Remnants of media and tools also provide insight into the artist’s working methods and preferences; there are inspirational and coincidental elements that eventually ended up in the work itself.

The meeting was informative, to say the least. First-hand details are incredibly helpful in assessing the significance of fragments, which is how Frank Castelyns was able to provide some references on Mariën’s methods, assist in distinguishing his handwriting from among myriad other notes, and immediately recall exhibited works when looking at photographs that might require a different colleague to pour hours of research into. Ultimately, it was an incredibly productive visit that will be followed up. A handful of unknown pieces were photographed, and there has been an agreement to stay in close touch to continue exchanging information as it arises.

A list of sources was also drawn up with additional facts on where and how to locate them, as well as which key pieces belong to which series. After all, were the missing issues of Les Levres Nues to be found, a complete edition would, without a doubt, be even more valuable.

There were three separate publication periods of Marcel Mariën’s Les Levres Nues:

  • The first series, from 1953 to 1958, was comprised of issues one through 12, with issues ten through 12 consolidated in a single issue and including written articles by Guy Debord (the first publication of pieces which would eventually become famous). These were produced as A5 booklets, succeeded by a second series in a larger format [quarto] from 1969 to 1975. A gap followed, after which publishing resumed (third series) in the early eighties in pamphlet form (Van Veen was able to preserve a few copies of these) and ran until 1992.
  • The second series was available in a larger format. (See le passager clandestin for a full description.).
  • Luxury editions included colour pamphlets and original photos (personal shots, a few copies). Finding a complete series, from 1988 to 1992, was a true find.  Mariën personally transformed this into a kind of archival series.

English: democracy texts have been difficult to locate (only references are available).

Lettres SurrealistesFait accompli

Crystal Blinkers – translated by John Lyle in Devon.

There are also numerous secondary sources, references, data, and additions perfect for use on the Marcel Mariën platform. Lastly, a scattering of exceptional press cuttings was found.