Rien à Voir

FRAC Poitou-Charentes

18.09.14 - 09.04.15

Poitou-Charentes, France


En 2005, l’artiste Michel de Broin fait d’une Buick le héraut de la résistance à la
 culture de la performance en la transformant en voiture à pédales. Les éléments
«superflus» ayant été retirés (moteur, transmission, système électrique…), le poids du
 véhicule est donc allégé et il peut désormais se déplacer dans les rues jusqu’à la
vitesse de 15 km/h grâce aux passagers qui forment le groupe autopropulseur.
 En 2007, la Buick est utilisée lors d’une performance dans les rues de Toronto. Celle-ci
 est interrompue par les forces de l’ordre qui jugent la voiture trop dangereuse
 pour circuler sur la voie publique. L’ensemble des événements sont enregistrés dans une vidéo qui est entrée dans 
la collection du FRAC en 2009. Cette vidéo s’accompagne de la documentation 
judiciaire relatant les échanges lors du procès, document ici exposé seul. Conclu 
par un non-lieu, le procès s’est attaché à savoir si cette Buick était ou non une
 voiture, mais jamais se pose la question de savoir si c’est une oeuvre d’art. En 2011, 
le FRAC acquiert Shared Propulsion Car, la fameuse Buick transformée. Par cet
 acte, le statut d’oeuvre se voit clairement signifié. Cependant, résolument atypique,
 cette oeuvre n’a de cesse d’engendrer des questionnements quant à son statut.
 Que ce soit auprès des autorités judiciaires sur la nature de l’objet (voiture ou
vélo) ou auprès des professionnels de l’art au sujet de son autonomie en dehors 
des moments de performance (sculpture ou objet performable), cette œuvre 
affirme une posture artistique visant une résistance à tout type de schéma et 
 Documentation judiciaire accompagnant la vidéo Shared Propulsion Car 
collection FRAC Poitou-Charentes

Rien à Voir .pdf


Artist Talk

University of Victoria


Victoria, BC


Guns in the Hands of Artists

Jonathan Ferrera Gallery

29.09.14 - 02.02.15

New Orleans, LA

Decommissioned guns taken off the streets of New Orleans via a gun buyback program have been distributed to over thirty internationally known artists to use as the raw materials in making works of art dealing with the issue of guns in our society.  The exhibition will open on Saturday October 4, 2014 and run through January 25, 2015 in conjunction with Prospect.3 Biennial.

War of Freedom [2014]  decommission guns, Bronze, Forton

Violent people are born of a violent environment. Violence propagates like a virus; when the state, the police, and the army use violence against their citizens, the virus spreads throughout society, non-discriminately infecting all individuals. The weapons industry is an epicenter of infection. What kind of immunization can counter this violence? Love? Art? The answer is uncertain. The question remains: how can a society be cured of violence when its economy is inextricably bound with the ailment?


The Disorderliness of Things

la Galerie de l’UQAM

09.01.15 - 14.02.15

Montreal, QC

Curated by Marie-Ève Charron et Thérèse St-Gelais


This exhibition gathers works around the question of disobedience and disorder, both in relation to its inherent democratic dimension and its challenging of certain authorities and conventions. This project’s interest resides in its presentation of works which position themselves as sites of resistance, where counter-powers are embodied in a more or less metaphorical way.

(extract 3 min 46 s)
HD Video, color with sound, 20 min 6 s

The Trial is a reenactment of a court case that ensued the issuing of a ticket for the operation of an “unsafe vehicle” in Toronto in 2001. The vehicle in question is a 1986 Buick Regal that was stripped of its engine and interior, and transformed into a pedal car. The script of the film is verbatim the transcript from the actual trial, and takes for setting the New York City subway, as the Buick was originally made to lumber slowly through the arteries of New York, congesting the continuous flow of traffic. As the narrative unfurls, it becomes clear that the case against the artist, for operating the unsafe vehicle, is legally lackluster and the judge rules to drop the charges. Here, the artist is at the mercy of the court, and a compelling parallel exists between this court, and New York City itself; New York is in many ways the court of the art world—replete with judge, jury, and prosecution—making its underground transportation network the most appropriate locale for this retelling of The Trial.



Media Architecture Biennale 2014

Godsbanen Center for Cultural Production

19.11.14 - 22.11.14

Aarhus, Denmark

Smashy Face [2014] Intact and smashed incandescent light bulbs.

This wall installation proposes an interaction with media architecture inspired by skill games, amusement parks and by the recent archeological discovery of Stone Age smiling faces in the Amazon River. Placed on the wall in the form of a 16 x 16 grid, 256 incandescent light bulbs are used as a canvas for a Stone Age inspired performance. I used a cobblestone taken from a Berlin road as a tool to draw a face by smashing select light bulbs on the grid. The installation will need no external power to smile.

In the context of a media arts festival, Smashy Face undermines the ever-present imperative to use increasingly complex technologies as a means of feigning innovation. Returning to analog forms of image making—but making wry reference to binary expression with the bit-like 16 x 16 grid—each light bulb smashed represents an exploded pixel here. The work stands in stark contrast to the embellished technological works, to suggest instead, that there remains traction in concise gestures and raw materials.


Buildering: Misbehaving the City

Blaffer Art Museum

21.09.14 - 06.12.14

Houston, TX


Buildering: Misbehaving the City is a traveling group exhibition exploring the unsanctioned use of architecture and the urban environment. Fusing the words “building” and “bouldering” (a type of rock climbing performed without harnesses or ropes), “buildering” serves as a metaphor for the creative misuse of built structures to circumvent their intended function. It suggests the possibility of alternative forms of engagement, both physical and psychological—or whatARCHITECT magazine columnist Aaron Betsky, reviewing Buildering when it premiered at the Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati, called “parkour turned into art.”

Artist Talk

Maryland Institute College of Art


Baltimore, MD


2 Wheelers

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

06.13.14 - 07.09.14

Halifax, NS

Curated by Dale Sheppard


2 Wheelers is an exhibition about bikes opening during HRM Bike Week. It brings together works by artists of all ages and practices that explore the playful, functional and political role of the bicycle. The exhibition is designed to take you through four spaces of the Gallery.

Transmission/Frequency: Tesla and His Legacy

Interdisciplinary Experimental Arts at Colorado College

01.09.14 - 18.10.14

Colorado Springs, CO



Overpower [2013] cast bronze, broken light bulb, 10 000 volts ignition coil. A bronze statuette of a knight bearing a sword, pulses 10,000 volts and ignites a broken household light bulb. Sparks fly as the characters fight off obsolescence, in a battle between faith and reason.

Transmission/Frequency: Tesla and His Legacy features artists whose works reflect — deliberately or not — Nikola Tesla’s maverick spirit and enduring legacy. Featured projects engage some of Tesla’s ideas, such as free-floating electrical current, self-sustaining systems/movements, electrical and fluorescent light, and magnetic fields. The exhibition will also include images and reproductions of Tesla’s inventions and excerpts from his journals, particularly those written during his time in Colorado Springs.

The work Overpower will be installed as part of this group exhibition.

Tragedy Plus Time

Dunlop Art Gallery

04.07.14 - 27.08.14

Regina, SK

Curated by Blair Fornwald, Jennifer Matotek, and Wendy Peart


“Comedy is tragedy plus time.”

This statement articulates the effects of time and critical distance, and the transformative and political dimensions of comedy. The artists in Tragedy Plus Time use humour to address a spectrum of difficult content, from the trauma inflicted by general societal ills, to tragedies which are more personal and specific.

The work Lost Object has been installed as part of this group exhibition.

Oh Canada

Owens Art Gallery

27.06.14 - 21.09.14

Sackville, NB

Curated by Denise Markonish


Oh Canada is a group exhibition organized by Mass Moca (Massachusetts, USA) featuring works by contemporary Canadian artists including Kim Adams, Shary Boyle, Marcel Dzama, BGL, Dean Baldwin and Kelly Mark. As part of the exhibition, the sculpture Tortoise will be on exhibition at Owens Art Gallery in Sackville, NB.


Galeria Awangarda

30.05.14 - 31.08.14

Wroclaw, Poland


The 4th International Biennale of Urban Art OUT OF STH focuses on the theme of bicycle. Not in the context of sport, but in its social dimension, as well as a mark of a modern, dynamically changing city. T
he video work Smoke will be featured as part of the biennale. Velodream is curated by Blandine Roselle, Sarah Cnudde, KRAFT, France.

Brooklyn Commons

Vito Acconci & Michel de Broin

15.04.14 - 6:30PM

ISCP New York City


Vito Acconci and Michel de Broin will discuss architecture, interaction between people and spaces, unfamiliar sites, and the utility of objects.

Brooklyn Commons, an occasional discussion series at ISCP, presents intellectual and artistic pairings between the established Brooklyn-based artist community and ISCP residents. This series puts artists in conversation who have not shared a dialogue in the past and focuses on cultural practitioners living and working in Brooklyn, both long- and short-term.

Brooklyn Commons is organized by Kari Conte, ISCP Director of Programs and Exhibitions.


Buildering: Misbehaving the City

Contemporary Arts Center

28.02.14 - 18.08.14

Cincinnati, Ohio


Jeux de Tables   [2014]  24 Tables

Buildering is a term coined for the unsanctioned use of architecture – fusing the words “building” and “bouldering” to describe a rapidly growing movement that reformulates how we live the city. Beyond acrobatics, vandalism and occupation, this practice becomes a metaphor for the creative misuse of built structure – denying the assigned/intended function of urban structures to re-open the possibility of alternatives. If we believe the premise that ideologies are implanted through the public’s navigation of the city plan, then actions associated with buildering break the hypnosis of ritual and cultivate new freedoms – both physical and psychological.

Buildering will explore this phenomenon from a global perspective, gathering both established and emerging artists from around the world. The artists include Ivan Argote (Colombia/France), Bestue-Vives (Spain), Etienne Boulanger (France), Egle Budvytyte (Lithuania), Michel de Broin (Canada), Didier Faustino (France/Portugal), Shaun Gladwell (Australia), Wiebke Grösch & Frank Metzger (Germany), Alex Hartley (UK), Iman Issa (Egypt), Antal Lakner (Hungary), Los Carpinteros (Cuba), Alison Moffett (USA/UK), Adam Putnam (USA), Pia Rönicke (Denmark), Monika Sosnowska (Poland), Sebastian Stumpf (Germany), Kamila Szejnoch (Poland), Lee Walton (USA), Carey Young (UK) and Hector Zamora (Mexico/Brazil). Collectively they will generate a playful, mischievous and lively show with strong socio-cultural underpinning. (Steven Matijcio, curator)

The work of Michel de Broin delights in theatrical contradiction, inviting competing references to take up residence in material form. Survival, shields and satire are recurring motifs in his playful paradoxes, turning everyday furnishings into architectural conundrums. In past works like Shelter (2006), office tables meant to facilitate congregation and assembly are instead transformed into the armored components of a fortress-like structure. The benevolent democracy of coming together across the shared surface of a tabletop, thereby gives way to defensive upturned structures with legs pointed out. Anticipating outright assault, Testudo (2009) references the Roman “tortoise” military formation where soldiers would cluster together, overlaps shields and point their spears outward. The table as an archetype of communion is thusly divided into distinct factions of “inside” and “outside.” Jeux de Tables is the most current iteration of this ongoing series, turning 24 otherwise ordinary desks into a multi-tiered board game without rules or resolution. Hierarchy and central organization are also conspicuously absent, suggesting a shift in tone where the binaries of top/bottom, inside/outside, individual/collective are collapsed in an open field of play. (SM)

Anxious Stability [1997/2014] Brick, Mortar, Metal Beams, Hydraulic Jack

This is a re-activation of one of de Broin’s earliest works, and a performance of the “magic realism” with which he treats architectural absolutes. In the canons of such convention, the column stands alone as the archetypal load-bearing Atlas. In the CAC it assumes an especially conspicuous role as Zaha Hadid bestowed her concrete pillars with both aesthetic and spatial swagger. De Broin follows this lead but unsettles its structural conceit, turning the spotlight on a tentative column to examine its underlying contingency. Like walking into the middle of a levitation daydream, this column is squeezed precariously into space – resting on little more than a humble hydraulic jack and a stack of metal beams. Tension and titillation accrue in equal measure as the column is tenuously held in place against the ceiling, reversing the typical weight-bearing relationship between post and lintel. As it sits poised to tip, the illusions of certainty and control we impart upon our buildings also begin to teeter. Without function, free of architectural responsibility, this reborn column is allowed to float into new possibility. (SM)