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

Michel de Broin: From Mad Scientist to Pied Piper, Shannon Anderson

Canadian Art


At first impression, Michel de Broin’s exhibition at Plug In ICA appears oddly unbalanced. The main gallery is relatively bare, save for a few small pieces scattered about. But turn to the right, and one of de Broin’s large shelter sculptures, made of 10 found tables stacked together to enclose an inaccessible hiding space, is crowded into the small side gallery.
But all is not as it seems. A triptych of paintings hung discreetly along one wall depicts the empty gallery from three perspectives, but with a significant architectural overhaul. The columns that line the centre of the gallery have been sliced down and balanced on top of one another in a modernist sculpture reminiscent of Carl Andre or Richard Serra.
Ironically, the sculpture can only exist in the imagination—if one were to actually slice the supporting columns, the gallery would collapse. The artist leaves the gallery sparse enough for visitors step into his vision of impossibility. Rather like the remnants of a performance piece, de Broin provides only the “documentation” and an empty gallery, leaving the visitor to reconstruct the scene in their minds. It’s a clever and bold use (or un-use, depending on how you look at it) of the space. Most of de Broin’s pieces in this exhibition, titled “Disruption from within,” are performative in nature. At the gallery’s far end, a drill lies on a plinth in a puddle of water. Setting up a fallacy both logical and pathetic, the drill is riddled with holes from which water spurts. It’s as though the drill’s aorta has been severed, leaving a puddle that seems on the verge of spilling out towards an electrical plug. Titled Bleed to Death, the drill is both dead and deadly.
On a television mounted near the entrance, an actor hired by de Broin putters through Winnipeg’s downtown core on a bicycle outfitted with a smoke-making device. In another ironic turn, the bike uselessly sputters smoke generated by the bicyclist’s efforts. He elicits curious stares and, at one point, a group of kids follow him like he’s the Pied Piper, innocently asking if the bike can go any faster. The same bike shown in the video sits in the centre of the gallery, offering visitors a closer inspection of de Broin’s absurd construction. An exhaust pipe vents out the back and the machine is operated by a series of switches and knobs mounted in a box between the handlebars. All operations, from the voltmeter to the test smoke switch, are indicated by labels made with one of those cheap plastic label-making machines. The device’s homespun design recalls the time machine that Uncle Rico, full of naive optimism, orders online in Napoleon Dynamite. In fact, de Broin’s work carries echoes of the same black, awkward comedy that runs through the film. “Disruption from within” might be imagined as a series of botched experiments—but importantly, ones that de Broin understood as doomed to failure, and embraced for that very reason.

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