Prosopopées, quand les objets prennent vie


05.12.2015 > 31.01.2016



« Objets inanimés, avez-vous donc une âme ? », se demandait Alphonse de Lamartine. Que penserait le poète aujourd’hui devant cet art contemporain augmenté par les nouvelles technologies ? Et nous, qu’en pensons-nous ? Y pensons-nous ? Loin des interactions ludiques auxquelles est souvent confiné l’art numérique, l’exposition de la Biennale se penche sur notre relation aux machines et objets qui nous entourent. La prosopopée est une figure de style qui consiste à faire parler des choses ou êtres inanimés. Ici, des artistes internationaux s’emparent des outils numériques pour donner une vision subjective ou fictive du monde.

Dans un appartement déréglé, un frigo et un radiateur se livrent à un combat ridicule. Ailleurs, des miroirs ou des affichages d’aéroports n’en font qu’à leur tête… Ne se livrant pas à une imitation de l’homme, les machines prennent leur autonomie. On ne se demande plus comment elles bougent mais pourquoi, leur conférant par cette question une pensée, une humanité, et même la capacité d’exprimer leur propre poésie. À nos risques et périls ! Jusque dans les recoins du CENTQUATRE-PARIS, le visiteur va de surprise en surprise, pas toujours rassurantes…

Avec Bill Vorn et Louis-Philippe Demers, Anish Kapoor, Krištof Kintera, Jacob Tonski, Robin Moody, Nonotak, Félicie d’Estienne d’Orves et Lara Morciano, LAb[au], Michel de Broin, Edwige Armand, Étienne Rey, Ei Wada, Guillaume Marmin et Fred Marolleau, Guillaume Marmin et Philippe Gordani, André et Michel Decosterd, Pascal Bauer, Bram Snijders et Carolien Teunisse, Jérémy Gobé, Fred Penelle et Yannick Jacquet, Maxime Damecour, Laurent Pernot, Anne Roquigny, Thomas Cimolaï, Samuel St-Aubin, Marck, Charbel-joseph H. Boutros, Benoît Labourdette, Rino Stefano Tagliafierro, Arcangelo Sassolino…





Rien ne va plus


06.11.15 - 29.11.15

Liverpool, UK

Rien ne va plus [2015]
Site-specific sound installation

Rien ne va plus is a French phrase used by roulette croupiers before fatally spinning the ball into the wheel, to announce that no more bets are allowed on the table. However, Rien ne va plus also translates as “nothing works anymore”, transcending the gambling environment and alluding to the wider state of the world.

Rien ne va plus is a site-specific audio installation in one of the exterior ventilation grids of the FACT building. The sound of clinking coins and slot machines produce the illusion that the institution has been converted into a casino. Through this simple and playful gesture, Michel de Broin poignantly comments on the the prevailing economics and politics of free market neoliberalism, and the so-called “casino capitalism” of our financial system. At the same time, and in the spirit of institutional critique, the work sheds light on the current climate of public cuts in the cultural sector, and the ensuing pressure to prioritize commercialization over values such as knowledge generation or commonality. (Ana Botella, Curator)

The Vertigo Effect


begins 24.10.15

Vitry-sur-Seine, France

MAC/VAL first opened in November 2005, so this year it is celebrating its tenth birthday: still young, but old enough to have a perspective over time, and to have put down roots in its territory. For this birthday, the new exhibition of works from the collection explores artists’ relation to history and its narratives, and our own relation as viewers to what went before us. (Alexia Fabre, 2015)

Black Whole Conference [2006]
74 chairs, clamp system
440 x 440 x 440 cm
Collection of the Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne

This installation consists of a group of chairs attached to each other at the legs to create a sphere. In this utopian architecture, each element ensures and shares in solidarity with the others, the stability of the whole. This spiky structure forms a kind of immune system, a geometry configured in order to protect itself from the outside world.

Dissipation on a Turn

Eva Meyer Gallery

24.10.15 - 05.12.15

Paris, France

Solo Exhibition
Galerie Eva Meyer
5 rue des HAUDRIETTES / 75003 Paris

Opening 22.10.2015
6 pm – 10 pm

Dissipation on a Turn marks the time of a double inauguration. A first collaboration between Eva Meyer and Michel de Broin and the installation in a new gallery space in Marais.

Dissipation on a Turn [2015]
Metal stools, wood, metal clamps

The work that gives its name to the exhibition, Dissipation sur le virage(2015, “dissipation on the turn”) is an organism in itself, tentacular, seemingly endless, an almost coral-like concretion of metal stools. This rhizomatic structure foils the useful origin of its material to better project it into the universe of circulations and dynamics. From one turn to the other, the alternation of accelerations and decelerations generates a form of inebriation comparable to the energy expended to recover its balance. The dissipation of energy is also at work in the exhibition’s smallest piece, Embrase-moi (2013, “set me ablaze”, a play on words with embrasse-moi, “kiss me”), a small graphic electrical resistance set ablaze: anyone who comes up against it, burns himself on it. The artist knows how to sustain the feeling of necessity generated by his humorous stagings of the crisis of the real. (Bénédicte Ramade, 2015)

michel-de-broin-2015_dissipation_01 michel-de-broin-2015_vaccumorgy_II michel-de-broin-2015_vaccumorgy_III michel-de-broin-2015_vaccumorgy_II-III michel-de-broin-2015_2013_beamtealight_01 michel-de-broin-2015__2013_embrase-moi_01 michel-de-broin-2015_drunkated_01 michel-de-broin-2015_drunkated_02



Feature: Contemporary Art Fair


22.10.15 - 25.10.15

Toronto, ON

Speaking of controlled skidding, Drunkated Buckyball (2015) resembling a geodesic structure, would seem to be an unstoppable system. The cocktail stirrers that form it deregulate the ordered assembly with their animal and corporate ornaments, their cheerful colors of intoxication. A tightrope walker’s exercise, these fragile specimens of a collection signaling drift fool their world. Molded in bronze and painted, the delicate instruments have undergone a shaping that twists them. A modus operandi that is decidedly favored by the artist whose wanderings of the mind appear to be crystallized in the center of space in this metal circuit crossed by chromatic interruptions, between a memory card and a competition track. (Bénédicte Ramade, 2015)

left to right:
Drunkated Isocahedron [2015], 90 x 90 x 90 cm
Drunkated ll (rising) [2015], 8 x 8 x 140 cm
Drunkated lll (geodesic) [2015], 30 x 30 x 30 cm
Drunkated I (explode) [2015], 30 x 30 x 53 cm



FIAC Officielle

Cité de la Mode et du Design

21.10.15 - 25.10.15

Paris, 13e

Booth C47
Opening 20.10.15
Presented by Galerie Eva Meyer


2015_FIAC_06 2012_relief01 2015_FIAC_05 2008_endofanera30x45 2015_artefact_50x77 2014freeball_60x45 2015_FIAC_04 2015_FIAC_03 2015_FIAC_02 2015_FIAC_01 2013_bf_Overpower_02_MdB.jpg 2015_FIAC_00

Unsafe at Any Speed


09.10.15 - 20.11.15

Montreal, QC

820Plaza hosts Unsafe at Any Speed, a group exhibition organized by Eli Kerr featuring works by Ivana Basic, Valérie Blass, Michel De Broin, Matt Goerzen, Jon Rafman and Sydney Shen, with an exhibition text by Rebecca Lemire.

Dehorning [2015]
2001 Ford Focus Explorer body parts

Unsafe at Any Speed borrows its title from Ralph Nader’s 1963 expose on the American Auto Industry. The work, which hallmarked a fundamental moment in the history of consumer activism, revealed that the industry designed automobiles for aesthetics, speed and performance while neglecting to implement vital safety features. By the turn of the 21st century the unit of personal computers sold per annum had far surpassed that of automobiles. A black 2001 Ford Explorer was one of the last cars to be manufactured in the 20th century. Large, powerful and austere, the American SUV became emblematic of resilience in the early 2000’s, providing a perceived security and safety in a time plagued by anxieties of terror and existential risk. Deconstructed on site at 820Plaza, a former auto body garage, the Explorer has become a modern ruin and site to consider the ways in which contemporary forms of distress and uncertainty relate to technological environments, and how the legacies of these formations shape our bodies and the collective mental self.

Monument to Victims of Liberty


30.09.15 - 18.10.15

Hull, QC

War of Freedom [2014]
Bronze, guns, composite materials
67 x 64 x 66 cm

Rather than accusing the barbarian acts of totalitarianism, Memorial to Victims of Communism ineffectively assigns blame to an abstract notion. The ideologically polarized fiction of the Cold War commonly led one to tackle an evilly portrayed opponent. Yet, in a world engendered by a complex system of exchange that authorizes the free flow of over 1 billion firearms, it is difficult to establish the casualties of a liberal pathology. In response to the unnuanced erection of the memorial in Ottawa, the exhibition Monument to Victims of Liberty offers diversity with point of views that levy against the controversy of this political endorsement, which remains without perspective.

Common Space?

Quartier des spectacles

23.09.15 - 18.10.15

Montreal, QC

Common Space? is a tour of eight new works displayed at various sites in Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles from October 1 to 18, 2015. It is the outcome of a creative process that merges the talent of 13 artists from seven countries, as they explore the question of humans at the heart of technology.

Molysmocène [2014]
Video projection on the façade of Théâtre Maisonneuve

Life on earth began with an erotic show in which nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen and potassium intertwined in an opening dance. Three billion years later, due to humanity, organic activity on earth has deflated; the orgy is coming to an end. We are entering the Molysmocène period, the era of trash… But what if a new lifeform were born from the soup of capitalism’s discarded leftovers? The artist wishes to thank the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.


Calgary Municipal Land Corporation

Inauguration: August 2015

St. Patrick's Island, Calgary

Bloom is the winning project of a public art competition organized by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation in April of 2013. The light-and-metal sculpture measures 24 meters and will be installed on St. Patrick’s Island in Calgary. The competition guidelines outlined the necessity for a sculpture that would be visible at night, in order to encourage people to frequent the site, which in recent decades has witnessed a decline in use. I accepted an invitation to participate in this national competition as I very compelled by the site, and could imagine my project contributing to the outstanding work of the landscape architect Barbara Wilks (W Architecture & Landscape Architecture). Wilks describes the site: “The 30-acre Living Island is all about creating a lasting and sustainable set of experiences that will attract a diversity of people, families and groups. Park elements include a new channel and beach, bikeway, new wetland habitat and boardwalk, interactive water feature, picnic areas, play areas and a multi-use space for festivals or markets are carefully positioned in restored natural areas to create a Living Island as an Active Park.”

As a child, I spent much time on Ile Saint-Helene in Montreal, an island comparable to St. Patrick’s Island in Calgary. The island was once host to Montreal’s most ambitious exhibition: Expo 67. While many traces—architectural, infrastructural—endure (Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome for example) Alexander Calder’s monumental public art sculpture, L’Homme, is perhaps the most important and significant remnant, and one of the greatest monumental sculptures in Canada.

Calder’s L’Homme is situated on an island comparable to St. Patrick’s Island. Strongly influence by this significant work, I wanted to actualize some similar formal strategies in my work Bloom.

Inspired by an encounter between the natural landscape of the park and the urban cityscape, large streetlights are assembled organically in Bloom: a seed of the city sprouted among the trees. This monumental sculpture of streetlights blossoms, softly awakening the island and watching over it at night. The monumentality of the lights lies in sharp contrast to the delicacy of the stems, filaments and petals. Devices of attraction, flowers and lights create points of encounter and interaction.

Bloom has been sited in reference to existing paths throughout the island.Tilted around an elaborate polyhedron, the tall poles extend their extremities in a stellation. Like a burst of rays, the asymmetrically arranged streetlights show all possible directions outward and concentrate strength inward. The projections of light connect the artwork to paths on the island and in turn, create a node or point of focus. By illuminating important routes, the radiant shape helps the urban dweller orient themselves within the city.

The sculpture introduces oblique lines in the landscape by folding the existing cityscape. Folding is a baroque strategy that produces movement, tension and exuberance. Bloom can be experienced from afar as a landmark and point of orientation. Equally compelling is the way Bloom is anchored to the ground extending its arms, embracing the sky.

The configuration of Bloom’s three supporting limbs liberates the ground in and around the sculpture. Rather than occupying a set area, commandeering the ground space at the expense of such a space’s other possible uses, Bloom instead creates a vibrant locale for congregation, interaction, and possibility in allowing people to make use of the space underneath and around the sculpture. L’Homme by Calder is in much the same spirit; rather than oppressively occupying a massive space, removing other possible uses for such space. Bloom creates a dynamic environment that invites people into its midst.

In Montreal, the Calder sculpture has achieved this in myriad ways; throughout the year it is sought out as a destination to meet, relax, or congregate, and it is now host to the incredibly popular Piknic Electronik music festival, which takes place throughout the summer, “under the Calder.” In this way, the sculpture is essential and instrumental to the vibrant music and festivals culture of Montreal; it is more then a work of art, it is a landmark of the city, it is the identity of the city.

Just as the abstract limbs of L’Homme play host to diverse interactions, the ubiquitous street lamps of Bloom, and the interaction they create between the natural landscape, the urban cityscape, and the people that populate them, promise to create new, varied, and enriching possibilities on St. Patrick’s Island.

Bike and pedestrian paths wind around and underneath and will allow people to interact with the sculpture and see it in detail. On the other hand, from the bridge and opposite shores, one can see the sculpture as a unified entity. For many thousands of years before the invention of the compass, the brightest stars in the sky guided us. Stars show direction and provide an imaginary goal to reach, a point representing the end of a journey. The star has multiple related meanings: direction, expectation, emancipation and light. Bloom can serve the same role for the city; it is a symbol of a promising new beginning for St. Patrick’s Island.


Division Gallery

May 19 - July 4, 2015

Montreal, QC

In Michel de Broin’s second solo exhibition at Division Gallery, the artist turns his attention to the governing laws and strategies at play in games. Interception, the exhibition’s title, implies being caught by surprise and reversing a course of action. Interruption and chance set the rules for disorderly architectural paradoxes, where the binaries of top/bottom, inside/outside, and individual/collective are collapsed in an open field of play.

Artefact (2015), a large-scale photograph of excavated wallpaper previously concealed behind layers of paint, is a scene of football players randomly dispersed on a field. In this choreography of tactical moves, the players are caught in a trajectory within which the goal of the game is ignored. The repeating patterns contrast with the overall alteration of colour and texture that time has imprinted on the players. In the midst of this buried childhood dream emerges a broken structure in the wall, simultaneously opening up a hole in the players’ field.

Also on display is Jeux de Tables (2014), composed of 24 ordinary tables reconfigured into a multilayered defensive structure. The title of the piece offers a play on words, with Jeux de Tables materializing the French term for board games (games of tables). With legs pointed out, the upturned tables are transformed into the armored components of a fortress-like structure. A shield against assault, the piece contradicts its own purpose by deploying the precarious equilibrium of a house of cards. The interlocking pieces of this disassembled puzzle are mutually self-sustaining, revealing their backsides covered in traces of their use through time.

In Drunkated Bunkyball (2015) de Broin returns to a familiar form, that of Bunckminster Fuller’s truncated icosahedron. Inspired by Utopian architecture, the piece is made of cast and re-painted swizzle sticks-mass-produced, collectible objects used as advertising mediums and globally distributed in casinos and bars. The geodesic formation of the swizzle sticks aims for stability, balancing tensile and compressive forces within its surface.


FreeBall [2015]
Colour photograph mounted on aluminum
24 x 16 inches

Artefact [2015]
Colour photograph mounted on aluminum
60 x 92 inches

Drunkated Buckyball [2015]
Bronze, enamel
32 inches in diameter

Based on a modular geodesic construction principle, Drunkated Buckyball brings together the optimistic, pleasant, and promising worlds of utopian architecture and entertainment. More than a hundred swizzle sticks are reproduced in bronze and joined together in an accidental configuration. The swizzle sticks intersect to form interlocking triangular components, building blocks that recall the utopian architecture of Buckminster Fuller. The swizzle sticks are joined to create a truncated icosahedron, a geometric form also associated with that of a soccer ball.










Artist Residency: Public Art Lab

April, 2015

Berlin, Germany

At the inception of life on earth, basic elements copulated happily in what is imagined as a “Primordial soup”. A vibrant diversity of biological matter was born from erotic encounters between methane, ammonia, and hydrogen, and in their gaseous “dance macabre,” more complex entities—organic monomers, amino acids, and then cells—came to be. Now however, two billion years later, scientists have noticed, a  deflation of organic activity on earth since the 20th century: the orgy is coming to an end.
The actions of the human species since the industrial revolution have been a geophysical force acting as a censor, inhibiting organic activity. This epoch wherein the geophysical impact of humans on the planet is made manifest is called the Anthropocene.

After the extinction of humankind, all that will remain is the trash of capitalist production—our garbage will persist long after we are gone. Amid the death, waste and residue, a new molecular dance may begin. Molysmocène is a stop-motion film that depicts this moment, when after the extinction of life, like at the origin of existence, new life is born again from inanimate matter, a dance of chemicals. Rather than the basic elements spawning from the stuff of stars however, the film will distill the extraordinary moment when new life is forged from the erotic exploits of the refuse left behind.

Nuit Blanche

Place de la cité Internationale - OACI

February 2015

Montreal, QC




At the inception of life on earth, basic elements copulated happily in what is imagined as a “Primordial soup”. A vibrant diversity of biological matter was born from erotic encounters between methane, ammonia, and hydrogen, and in their gaseous “dance macabre,” more complex entities—organic monomers, amino acids, and then cells—came to be. Now however, two billion years later, scientists have noticed,a  deflation of organic activity on earth since the 20th century: the orgy is coming to an end.
The actions of the human species since the industrial revolution have been a geophysical force acting as a censor, inhibiting organic activityThis epoch wherein the geophysical impact of humans on the planet is made manifest is called the Anthropocene.
After the extinction of humankind, all that will remain is the trash of capitalist production—our garbage will persist long after we are gone. Amid the death, waste and residue, a new molecular dance may begin. Molymoscène is a stop-motion film that depicts this moment, when after the extinction of life, like at the origin of existence, new life is born again from inanimate matter, a dance of chemicals. Rather than the basic elements spawning from the stuff of stars however, the film will distill the extraordinary moment when new life is forged from the erotic exploits of the refuse left behind.