Exposition littéraire autour de Mallarmé
Exposition littéraire autour de Mallarmé

January 18–May 1, 2024

ed. Michalis Pichler

Center for Book Arts
28 West 27th St, 3rd Fl
New York, NY 10001


Exposition littéraire autour de Mallarmé, recalls an exhibition of the same name by Marcel Broodthaers in 1969 at Wide White Space in Antwerp, Belgium. The exhibition is centered around re-readings and re-writings of Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’Abolira Le Hasard across different media, around that icon of the avant-garde. The exhibition will be a 1-on-1 appropriation of a historical exhibition, hence a “greatest hit” in its own right.

Coup de Dés (Collection) unites a vast number of editions of Mallarmé’s chef d’oeuvre as well as many of its historical and contemporary editions and appropriations by other authors such as Claude Balif, Fritz  Balthaus, Derek Beaulieu, Jérémie Bennequin, Christopher Brennan, Marcel Broodthaers, Bernard  Chiavelli, Jim Clinefelter, Lucien Desalmand, Mario Diacono, Sammy Engramer, Marie Louise Erlenmeyer, Cerith Wyn Evans, Ernest Fraenkel, Rodney Graham, Paul Heimbach, Angela  Grasser, Barry Guy, Felix Philipp Ingold, La Bibliothèque Fantastique, Brian Larosche, Alexandra Leykauf, Benjamin Lord, Stéphane Mallarmé, Michael Maranda, Guido Molinari, Monchas, Francoise Morel, Nontsikelelo Mutiti, Aurélie Noury, Michalis Pichler, Henri Pousseur, Nicolas Richard, Mitsou Ronat, Sam Sampson, Camille Soula, Ultralab, Klara Vith, and Eric Zboya.

The collection also includes a variety of publications (backgammon tutorials, pulp fiction, and militaria books) that feature the phrase “Coup de Dés” on the cover without explicitly referring to Mallarmé. Coup de Dés (Collection) is ongoing and subject to open submission.

The exhibition includes Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’abolira Le Hasard SCULPTURE, a close copy of the 1914 edition of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem, but with all the words cut out by laser, in a way that corresponds directly to the typographic layout used by Mallarmé. When turning the pages, numerous shadows are generated by the cutouts. Pichler’s version is juxtaposed with editions by Broodthaers and Mallarmé, who had written Un Coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard. POÈME in 1897, and also saw it published in a magazine called Cosmopolis. Mallarmé left copious notes as to how it should be typeset, instructions that were finally carried out 16 years after his death, in 1914. In 1969 this work was appropriated in three renditions as Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’abolira Le Hasard. IMAGE by Marcel Broodthaers, who replaced the words by black stripes.

A glass version of Un Coup de Dés jamais n’abolira le Hasard. SCULPTURE is installed in the airspace of the gallery as a spatial installation or walk-through book, even though there is no text displayed on the plates. Through its “strategic illegibility,” it seems to establish what Jacques Derrida would call “a text, that is, a readability without a signified”.

Somewhere in the gallery, a player piano rocks away with a that somehow resembles aleatoric music. The turn-of-the-century pianola is indeed playing Un Coup de Dés Jamais N’abolira le Hasard. MUSIQUE, created by running a 288mm tracker roll of Pichler’s cut-out windows/verses.

The exhibition is accompanied by a Catalog with texts by Craig Dworkin, Annette Gilbert, Luc Boltanski, Arnaud Esquerre, Ryoko Sekiguchi, and Michalis Pichler, and reproductions of the works, co-published by Center for Book Arts and Spector Books.