The Crystal Ship is a journalistic narrative that approaches the visual working practice of Marcel Broodthaers as a contextual frame to interpret a series of landmarks within an Antwerp neighborhood. In the late 1960’s Belgian art community the Antwerp address of Beeldhouwersstraat 46 was the location of a gallery cryptically titled A379089, or A Space. On September 29, 1969 Marcel Broodthaers presented one installment of his museological displays at this gallery.
Conceived of as an artist book, lecture, and sculptural installation, The Crystal Ship documents an exploratory narrative that uses both historical and observational information as a filter in order to address and construct alternate readings for a series of landmarks existing at that site.
The narrative of The Crystal Ship was performed at a book launch held in the garden of Beeldhouwersstraat 46, now the organic clothing shop Mandragora. This garden was previously the site of two Broodthaers works. One, a text work painted on white plaster wall in the garden, the other is Le Pluis, filmed in the opposite corner of the backyard.
Documentation of the event along with the sculptures produced to illustrate the text in the book were displayed in vitrines borrowed from the Royal Storage in Leuven and exhibited at BELvue Museum for Belgian History in Brussels, Belgium.
The Crystal Ship is published by Bywater Bros. Editions and Etablissement d’en face projects, Brussels, Belgium.