Thresholds
Nathalie Bachand, Canada Council for the Arts
Fluid, Data, Blood: New Sculptures by Michel de Broin
Anna Kovler, Arsenal Contemporary
Sculpture of Steel, City of Nerves
Bernard Schütze, Espace art actuel
Michel de Broin
Bryne McLaughlin, Art in America
Disruption From Within
Rodney LaTourelle, Plug-In ICA
Interview
Michel de Broin, Etienne Zack, Mass MoCA
Montreal’s Retired Metro Cars Are Staying Busy
Mark Byrnes, City Lab
Michel de Broin BMO Project Room
Bryne McLaughlin, Canadian Art
Where is Michel de Broin?
Anne Schreiber, Art Net Magazine
Michel de Broin at Bitform Gallery
Darren Jones, Artforum
Castles Made of Sand
Bryne McLaughlin, BMO Project Space
Entropic engines and retooled appliances: Michel de Broin and the technological unconscious
Daniel Sherer, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Danger awakens the senses: An interview
Oli Sorenson, MKOS
Interview with Michel de Broin
Regine, We Make Money Not Art
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
Between the Possible and the Impossible
Nathalie de Blois, Musée national des beaux arts du Québec
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
A Logic of Being Against?
Bernard Lamarche, Parachute
Épater la Galerie
Jean-Ernest Joos, Villa Merkel
L’espace public mis à nu par l’artiste même
Jean-Philippe Uzel, Spirale Magazine
Résistance?
André-L. Paré, Etc. Magazine

Reverse Entropy, Thomas Wulfen

Kunstlerhaus Bethanien

 

In the late nineteenth century, the American mathematician and physicist Josiah Willard Gibbs published several treatises under the title ‚On the Equilibrium of Heterogeneous Substances‘ in the‚ Transactions of the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences‘. Here Gibbs first described entropy as a physical unit. Entropy is a quantitative measure of the distribution of energy and matter. In nature high-entropy, disorderly states are more likely to occur than low-entropy, orderly ones. An orderly system is bound to transform into a disorderly one sooner or later, whereas disorder never spontaneously changes into order. Spontaneous processes, commonly called ‘irreversible‘, always produce entropy, while reversible processes do not partake in the production of the overall entropy and therefore do not unfold spontaneously.

Michel de Broin’s work has a double-fold affinity with the issue of entropy. As with the concept of entropy, one may differentiate between energy and information. At the level of information, a subtle value can be made out in Michel de Broin’s sculptural works by the eye of the beholder – it realises that the given sculptural form contains identifiable elements. The combination of these single elements produces a new, different form, which in turn might be identified as well. This identification, however, succeeds only in part since the information gained from the firstly achieved identification process is always at odds with the result from the second identification process. And vice versa. Though synonymous with low entropy, the identification of the known element thus blurs the reception of high entropy as the newly perceived information.

Looking at Michel de Broin’s oeuvre, we think we know what sculpture is but the individual work factually subverts and disappoints our expectation. For want of a word that would make us understand this deceitful disappointment, I propose to use the artefact ‘yportne’. This term could also be applied to the work entitled ‘Keep on smoking‘ (2006) – a bicycle with an exhaust pipe, which releases smoke while one is pedaling. This sculpture could have been a prop designed for Buster Keaton. Its effect unfolds from an obvious contradiction: ecology versus waste of energy. This may also be understood in light of the paradox of reverse entropy, already contained in yportne. It comes as no surprise that Michel de Broin is able to pair his bicycle-cum-exhaust with a car lacking precisely that: In his ‘Shared Propulsion Car‘ (2005), four individuals could together pedal the motor-less big American car around the city. With this pedal driven vehicle, De Broin influenced the traffic in New York – reverse entropy. The sculpture simulates functionality, yet it functions as well. If possible, one should contemplate Michel de Broin’s works literally from the rear – just as the word ‘yportne’ may also be read the other way around.