Nathalie Bachand, Conseil des arts du Canada
Mécanismes entropiques et appareils remodelés : Michel de Broin et l’inconscient technologique
Daniel Sherer, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
Les châteaux de sable
Michel de Broin, Inter, art actuel #130
Entre le possible et l’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
Disruption From Within
Rodney LaTourelle, Plug-In ICA
La disspiation sur le virage
Laetitia Chauvin, Esse
A Logic of Being Against?
Bernard Lamarche, Parachute
Michel de Broin, Etienne Zack, Mass MoCA
Michel de Broin BMO Project Room
Bryne McLaughlin, Canadian Art
Montreal’s Retired Metro Cars Are Staying Busy
Mark Byrnes, City Lab
Where is Michel de Broin?
Anne Schreiber, Art Net Magazine
Interview with Michel de Broin
Regine, We Make Money Not Art
Une oeuvre monumentale
Éric Clément, La Presse
Construire des chateaux… Dans le ciel de Toronto
Éric Clément, La Presse
Michel de Broin: une oeuvre publique à sauver
Éric Clément, La Presse
Castles Made of Sand
Bryne McLaughlin, BMO project Space
Le vivre ensemble
Annie Gérin, Presses de l’Université Laval
Un électron libre aux confins des genres
Jérôme Delgado, Le Devoir
Danger awakens the senses: An interview
Oli Sorenson, MKOS
Un Michel de Broin un brin solennel mais redoutable
Benedicte Ramade, Zéro deux
Bright Matter
Sarah Milroy, Canadian Art Magazine
Michel de Broin
John K Grande, Border Crossings magazine
Cities of Light
Bryne McLaughlin, Canadian Art Magazine
Michel de Broin: From Mad Scientist to Pied Piper
Shannon Anderson, Canadian Art
Une éternelle semence
Jérôme Delgado, Le Devoir
Michel de Broin at Mercer Union
Alex Snukal, Uncubed Magazine
Énergie réciproque
Bénédicte Ramade, MacVal
Pièces à conviction
Marie-Ève Charron, Le Devoir
Neue Heimat
Bernard Schutze, Berlinische Galerie
L‘art comme conspiration
Jean-Ernest Joos, ETC Montréal
Propulsion and entropy
Bernard Schutze, C-Magazine
Reverse Entropy
Thomas Wulfen, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien
Objeux pour Objoies: l’attrait de l’imprévisible
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
André-L. Paré, Etc. Magazine

Neue Heimat, Bernard Schutze

Berlinische Galerie

Michel de Broin is an artist who delights in toying with paradox by inviting competing references to take up residence in a materially manifest form. In this approach conceptual moorings are severed by aesthetically confronting the viewer with an assemblage that silences or troubles the ideas it purports to speak for. In his sculpture “Black Whole Conference” the artist uses ordinary chairs—the primus locus of collective discussion —as building blocks to construct a sphere that inscribes itself on several intertwined conceptual levels: that of a public sphere with its open, non-hierarchical and egalitarian communicational architecture, that of an immunological system that is closed upon itself to ensure internal cohesion by defending against external threats, and that of a voyage ready astronautic capsule. Considered along these lines the sculpture broadly references the utopian aspirations of communication, health and security, and space exploration.

The sculpture consists of 74 black conference chairs conjoined at the feet so as to form an imposing sphere that ensures an equal footing between each of the parts. The free-floating seating arrangement endows the chairs with a solidarity that underpins the cohesiveness of the spherical whole. Through the absence of any discernible up or down, and the equidistance of each chair from an empty centre, hierarchy is abolished and central authority evacuated. This ‘conference’ can do without words as the ideal speech situation is already functionally and structurally inscribed in the sculpture: there is a co-equivalence between the individual chairs as furnishings, which fully retain their functionality as indexes of human interaction, and their assemblage into an architectural structure that creates an arena for exchange. The chairs essentially remain chairs, and this regardless of whether they are viewed as modular elements or as a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Here, architecture and furnishings sit side by side, so to speak from a position of perfect parity. The chair’s legs act collectively like an immune system by kicking outwards to prevent boundary violations and to secure its survival. In this sense the sphere circumscribed by the assemblage does not produce an empty space around which to gather, but a defensive devouring vacuum.

By virtue of the vacuum at its centre and the exclusionary topology at its circumference the sculpture produces a paradoxical space that simultaneously offers and cancels the conditions of utopian communication. The “Black Whole Conference” can house such exchange but only if it remains shut within the shroud of secrecy called for by this security endosystem. However from the perspective of a health and security ideal, the system is undermined by the communicational necessity of commingling and transparency. This sense of paradox is further underscored by the cohabitation of the homely, down-to-earth assembly of chairs, and the intergalactic space exploration dimension insinuated by title’s black hole and the sculpture’s likeness to a space capsule. The announced conference is thus at once close to home and at the edge of the unfathomable; open to communication and yet closed to contamination; well settled in its familiarity and human scale and yet astronomically mobile and strange. In an ironic and paradoxicalway the “Black Whole Conference” invites these quintessentially modernist utopian conceptual spheres to compete for quarters in the confines of a single manifest sphere. Though this overlapping of macro-micro levels warrants references to the public sphere of a Jürgen Habermas, the spherical metaphysics of a Peter Sloterdyk, the utopian geometry and spaceship dreams of a Buckminster Fuller, none of these can take up exclusive and extensive lodgings here. Whatever the referential explorations and conceptual extrapolations that one may throw against the whole sphere, in the end run it obdurately defends its concreteness and expulses any final attempts to seize the meaning hovering in its holed up centre.