Nathalie Bachand, Canada Council for the Arts
Entropic engines and retooled appliances: Michel de Broin and the technological unconscious
Daniel Sherer, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Between the Possible and the Impossible
Nathalie de Blois, Musée national des beaux arts du Québec
Sculpture of Steel, City of Nerves
Bernard Schütze, Espace art actuel
Michel de Broin at Bitform Gallery
Darren Jones, Artforum
Michel de Broin
Bryne McLaughlin, Art in America
Michel de Broin BMO Project Room
Bryne McLaughlin, Canadian Art
Disruption From Within
Rodney LaTourelle, Plug-In ICA
A Logic of Being Against?
Bernard Lamarche, Parachute
Michel de Broin, Etienne Zack, Mass MoCA
Fluid, Data, Blood: New Sculptures by Michel de Broin
Anna Kovler, Arsenal Contemporary
Where is Michel de Broin?
Anne Schreiber, Art Net Magazine
Montreal’s Retired Metro Cars Are Staying Busy
Mark Byrnes, City Lab
Interview with Michel de Broin
Regine, We Make Money Not Art
Castles Made of Sand
Bryne McLaughlin, BMO Project Space
Danger awakens the senses: An interview
Oli Sorenson, MKOS
Bright Matter
Sarah Milroy, Canadian Art Magazine
Michel de Broin
John K Grande, Border Crossing Magazine
Cities of Light
Bryne McLaughlin, Canadian Art Magazine
From Mad Scientist to Pied Piper
Shannon Anderson, Canadian Art Magazine
Michel de Broin at Mercer Union
Alex Snukal, Uncubed Magazine
Neue Heimat
Bernard Schutze, Berlinische Galerie
Art as Conspiracy
Jean-Ernest Joos, ETC Montreal
Propulsion and entropy
Bernard Schutze, C-Magazine
Reverse Entropy
Thomas Wulfen, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien
Objests for Objoys: the attraction of the unforeseen
Stephen Wright, Semaine
Épater la Galerie
Jean-Ernest Joos, Villa Merkel
L’espace public mis à nu par l’artiste même
Jean-Philippe Uzel, Spirale Magazine
André-L. Paré, Etc. Magazine

Fluid, Data, Blood: New Sculptures by Michel de Broin, Anna Kovler

Arsenal Contemporary


Anomaly, 2018

Michel de Broin is known for using everyday objects to reveal relationships between mechanical and social bodies. Whether adopting a power drill, bicycle, artillery gun or light bulb, his alterations to these tools point beyond objects to the people who use them, becoming metaphors for the flesh-and-bones human body. In his latest sculptures, knots appear as if by magic in otherwise straight copper pipes, twisting and bulging like veins or intestines. de Broin takes the flow of electrical signals as inspiration. According to the logic of electricity, a resistor only resists if power is running through the network. These metallic clusters resist the force of whatever runs through them, signaling a complication in flow; a loop where fluid must slow down like blood clots or rush hour traffic.

“I’ve been trying to bring out the body underlying mechanical or technical objects,” says de Broin, “and incarnate machines as though they are alive.” Indeed in these works the machinic collides with the organic in a movement that both humanizes the hard machine, and mechanizes the soft body. Although typically used to carry water, these copper pipes entail other kinds of flow too, from oil and gas, to bodily fluids, capital, immigration, dreams and desires. The Anomalies as he calls them, elicit a sense of empathy. We imagine the pipes might feel some pain or discomfort from being all tangled up.

Displayed on a plinth, the work titled Universal Plug In Play represent the opposite formation of a knot. Clusters of square and cylindrical openings grow in star shapes like crystals do out of the ground. Resembling technical attachments or adapters, the sculptures accommodate a grand imaginary network. “I was influenced by the Internet protocol that allows different devices to connect together with ease,” remarks de Broin. Rather than slowing down a substance, these universal adapters would allow for faster flow from a variety of inputs. Like much of de Broin’s work these objects point outward at the larger systems they belong to.

In a climate where fuel, water, and data rule global politics, de Broin’s knots and ports suggest looking more closely at these flows and the roles of individual bodies. As the world hits record highs for carbon emissions, Russia is busy installing a natural gas pipeline under the Black Sea, and the United States plans to open new public lands to oil and gas drilling. Resistance seems futile amid the interests of powerful industries, and yet individuals do take to the streets, amassing into blockages and influencing policy. While de Broin offers no answers, the knotty sculptures can be see as an attempt to resist the current, and foreground the human body as a locus of power, potential, and social responsibility.

Michel de Broin’s new sculptures were on view at Division Gallery in Montréal from September 13 – November 17, 2018. Upcoming exhibitions include an installation of de Broin’s Thresholds (2017) at Âjagemô in Ottawa, and Deviations, an intervention in three of Vancouver’s parks for the 2018-2020 Vancouver Biennale.