2019.02.20 – 2019.06.09
Âjagemô art space, Ottawa (Canada Council for the Arts)
Thresholds is an experience in transit. It calls to mind the velocity of our urban journeys, small moments in everyday time and space. The installation remakes the internal mechanics of door-opening devices found on old metro cars manufactured for the inauguration of the Montréal metro at the 1967 World Exhibition. The MR-63 car has now been replaced by more modern equipment, but its impact on the collective Montréal imagination is undeniable. Having survived the consumption cycle, the piece now serves to keep this technological memento alive. It is an investigation into possible worlds stemming from the relics of this one. (Nathalie Bachand, commissaire)
2019.02.07 – 2019.05.18
Alain Declercq, Michel de Broin, Allora & Calzadilla
FRAC Poitou-Charentes, Angoulême, France
Shared Propulsion Car, color video, sound, 3’48’’ and legal documentation, 2007, collection FRAC Poitou-Charentes
Aller plus vite, plus loin, partout : à deux ou à quatre roues, le véhicule automobile est bien vite devenu un symbole d’émancipation.
Liberté, pouvoir et modernité se conjuguent en cocktails désirables dans l’appareillage promotionnel des constructeurs et le cinéma s’est adjoint la cinétique automobile jusqu’à en faire des genres à part entière : la poursuite, le road movie.
Puisqu’à des fins de sécurité publique, de police, d’écologie… codes et lois refrènent les élans libertaires et individualistes des usagers de la route, alors autos et motos apparaissent aujourd’hui plus que jamais comme de potentiels symboles de transgression.
Les trajectoires criminelles d’Alain Declercq, la customisation décroissante de Michel de Broin et les hurlements revanchards de Allora & Calzadilla nous transportent aux confins de la légalité. Parfois au-delà.
2018.11.02 – 2018.11.04
Man Ray, Michel de Broin, Juliette Goiffon & Charles Beauté
Artissima, Turin (Galerie Eva Meyer)
The proposition for the 25th anniversary of Artissima, is to present three generations of artists who redefined a reflexion about Art through their works on daily or found objects. Flirting with the tradition of Surrealist and Dadaist, the Artefacts of Man Ray, well-known for his photographs, will put a light on a historical use of the everyday objects into an artistic context. Michel de Broin (1970, Montreal) has a multifaceted production dealing with energy flows, entropic devolution and the forms of visual, spatial and technological paradox that derive from these forces. Crafting unforeseen relationships between waste, productivity, risk and consumption, de Broin defamiliarizes established modes of signification in everyday technical environments. Juliette Goiffon & Charles Beaute? (1985 and 1987, Lyon Fr) are two young artists working on the new technologies, their obsolescence or their limits by questioning them through the spectrum of memory or archeology. The object manufactured reminding daily objects becomes the materialization of a deep reflexion. Each particular object is reactivated by the artist’s gesture. Sculptures, installations and photographs, each technical process comes to question in turn material, shape or the practice in itself.
2018.10.20 – Work in progress
Vancouver Biennale, Vancouver
For the Vancouver Biennale, Michel de Broin explores the power of a hazard to defy the inherent rationality of urban planing. The work consists in a series of three improbable cycle paths that intertwine prolonging the existing lanes. Accessible to the public, the works will be installed in different neighbourhoods of Vancouver.
The artwork is made of raw material belonging to the urban environment: bitumen, yellow paint and street signs. The installation activates the potential of a random physical gesture. A rope was dropped several times on top of an aerial photograph of the city, creating as many unpredictable squiggles. The artist selected one resulting pattern and enlarged it 100 times at the scale of the landscape to create an asphalted path. At the entrance of the installation, a road sign signals the random pattern. The yellow diamond shape of the road sign recalls traffic symbols warning about hazardous locations. The tern hazard comes from the Arabic word for chance (azzahr) meaning “game of dice”. The design of this path is an expression of chance challenging the predictable logics of urban landscaping. This installation confronts the regularity and functionality of modern cities usually developed to suppress hazards—the dangerous side of chance. It deploys chance as an unpredictable experience, opening up new avenues for imagination and mobility.
Fluid, Data, Blood: New Sculptures by Michel de Broin
Anna Kovler, Arsenal Contemporary
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.
Sculpture of Steel, City of Nerves
Bernard Schütze, Espace art actuel
Dendrites, a public artwork recently inaugurated along with its sit — Place de l’Aviation Civile International, is a fascinating and consistent extension of Michel de Broin’s ongoing and prolific art practice. In fact the work combines two elements that are characteristic of his multifaceted approach.
Michel de Broin
Bryne McLaughlin, Art in America
There's a dizzy logic to the work of Montreal artist Michel de Broin. Take, for instance, his sculpture Révolution, a maquette version of which opened his recent survey exhibition at the MACM. Commissioned in 2010 for the Couvent des Jacobins in Rennes, France, the massive work (which remains in France) features a knotted, 100-foot-long steel staircase designed to confound notions of beginning and end.
Disruption From Within
Rodney LaTourelle, Plug-In ICA
For his first solo exhibition in Western Canada, Michel de Broin presents recent work in various media. His art may take many forms, from traditional sculpture to installations, actions, and video, but it always employs a rupture in the logic of a particular convention, whether it is an object, situation, or process. Perversions, detours, and odd juxtapositions are strategies that repeatedly appear in his work, which uses the combination of unrelated systems in order to expose overlooked preconceptions.
Michel de Broin, Etienne Zack, Mass MoCA
I recently carried out a performance involving a lumberjack and a lamppost. The historical movement known as “The Age of Enlightenment” or “Age of Reason,” to which Newton belonged, translates to “the Century of Light” in French, light being a synonym of reason and darkness suspected of belonging to witchcraft and magic.
Montreal’s Retired Metro Cars Are Staying Busy
Mark Byrnes, City Lab
Whenever a city updates the rolling stock of its subway, a familiar question emerges: What to do with all the old metro cars? You can hurl them in the ocean to make artificial reefs, or use them for emergency housing for the homeless, or sell them to North Korea, as Berlin did in the 1990s. Or, as in Montreal, you can turn them into public art installations.
Michel de Broin BMO Project Room
Bryne McLaughlin, Canadian Art
There is no beginning and no end to Michel de Broin's Castles Made of Sand (2016). Installed high above the Toronto financial district as the most recent commission for the BMO Project Room, de Broin's hulking installation pivots on a simple conceptual proposition: how to construct a machine that builds and rebuilds sandcastles.
Where is Michel de Broin?
Anne Schreiber, Art Net Magazine
(1) Who are you? Michel de Broin. I am what I am concentrating on.
Michel de Broin at Bitform Gallery
Darren Jones, Artforum
Michel de Broin’s US solo debut activates cracked lightbulbs, wood logs, bronze castings, and a bicycle with electric currents. The Montreal-based artist calls upon these basic objects to convey fundamental physical forces, all the while adding a trace of whimsy to his works.
Castles Made of Sand
Bryne McLaughlin, BMO Project Space
On the top floor of a downtown Toronto office tower, an elaborate contraption retro engineer by a machinator is simulating an industrial production line.
Michel de Broin deepens his cross-disciplinary practice by developing an ever-expanding visual vocabulary. His approach to production explores the intersections between technological, biological, and physical systems. Crafting unforeseen relationships between waste, productivity, consumption and risk, de Broin challenges the use-value and conventional associations of familiar objects and symbols: he infuse them new meaning and develops new contexts.
His work has been exhibited at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne; France; the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; the Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg; the Museum Tinguely, Basel; the Centre d’art Villa Arson, Nice; at Eyebeam, New York; and at the Hessel Museum of Art, New York. His work is held in several museums and public collections, including the National Gallery of Canada; the Art Gallery of Ontario; the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal; the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec; the City of Montreal; the FRAC Poitou Charentes, France; and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Germany.
His public art works and commissions include Dendrites, 2017, Montreal; Threshold, 2017, Montréal; Interlude, 2016, Québec city; Bloom, 2015, Calgary; Possibilities, 2012, Mississauga; Interlace, 2012, Changwong; Majestic, 2011, New Orleans; Revolution, 2010, Rennes; Arch, Montréal, 2009; La maîtresse de la Tour Eiffel, 2009, Paris; Overflow, 2008, Toronto; Encircling, Christchurch, 2006; Shared Propulsion Car, 2005, New York and 2007, Toronto; Révolutions, 2003, Parc Maisonneuve-Cartier, Montréal.
Recipient of the 2007 Sobey Art Award, de Broin has also received grants from Canada Council for the Arts, the Harpo Foundation (Los Angeles) and Krasner-Pollock Foundation (New York), and was awarded a residency at International Studio and Curatorial Program (New York), the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Acme studio (London) and Villa Arson (Nice).
He is represented by the Galerie Division, Montreal.