Room 5

In this room installation, A Winter Garden 1974, Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers uses the museum space to challenge traditional systems of display and the authority of the art institution. Modelled on the nineteenth-century palm court, once popular in European bourgeois homes, the work consists of an arrangement of real objects brought together to create a fictional scene. The rolled-up red carpet hints nostalgically at former glories. The palm trees, the engravings of different categories of animals, and the old fashioned display cases evoke an age of colonialism, characterised by a passion for collecting and classifying objects from around the world. It was an era that saw the birth of the museum as an institution. Here, Broodthaers makes a museum within a museum, a space so clearly artificial that it calls into question the validity of the objects on display. The presence of the video monitor, reflecting back the room and its visitors as part of the presentation, adds to the tension between fiction and reality.