May 22, 2013 - Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal - Michel de Broin
May 22, 2013

Michel de Broin

Michel de Broin, Blowback, 2013. Steel, 10 x 4 x 4 m. Courtesy Galerie Division, Montréal.

Michel de Broin
May 24–September 2, 2013

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
185, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest
Montréal (Québec) H2X 3X5

To launch the summer season, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is presenting a critical overview of the work of Michel de Broin. The first major Canadian museum exhibition devoted to this Montréal artist, Michel de Broin brings together some thirty pieces, several of them new and produced specially for this occasion.

The selection of works from the last decade on display in the exhibition Michel de Broin attests to the artist’s persistent interest in the notions of resistance, appropriation and recycling. Over the past twenty-plus years, this multidisciplinary artist has continually challenged systems of all kinds and the way they operate. Adopting a critical yet playful point of view toward everyday objects and preconceived ideas, de Broin applies analogies and metaphors to reveal the forces that frame and direct our actions and interactions in our day-to-day environment. The artist explores the coexistence of opposing elements and the relationship between the strange and the familiar, explaining: “One of the premises of my practice involves introducing a foreign element into a normative system to see how that agent produces an unexpected reaction in its new setting.” A notable example is Silent Screaming, a seminal work from 2006–2007 that features a device designed to muffle the sound produced by an alarm system by creating a vacuum environment where sound cannot travel. Visitors can see the movement of the hammer striking the bell jar, but the alarm “scream” is inaudible.

De Broin favours an experimental approach, so that his works are perpetually evolving. Often, the boundaries between preparatory sketch and model, documentation and finished piece, become merged and blurred. A model may in fact be presented as a work in itself, only to be reborn later in the form of a sculpture, photograph or video. This exhibition includes updated versions of some pieces previously shown, such as Embrase-moi, 1993–2013, and Objet perdu, 2002–2013.

The works newly created by the artist in 2013 for this show are the monumental Blowback, two two-thirds-scale replicas of World War II Howitzer cannons looped together at their front ends; Anthropométrie, Étant donnés, L’Abîme de la Liberté, L’Étendue de l’abîme, Tenir sans servir c’est résister and Têtes de pioches.

Born in Montréal in 1970, Michel de Broin was the winner of the 2007 Sobey Art Award and took part in the first Québec Triennial at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 2008. He has exhibited in Europe, the United States and Canada, and has presented a number of major public-art projects (both permanent and temporary), among them Majestic (New Orleans, 2011), Révolution (Rennes, 2010), La maîtresse de la tour Eiffel (Paris, 2009), Overflow (Nuit Blanche, Toronto, 2008), Encerclement (Scape Biennial, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2006), Shared Propulsion Car (Exit Art, New York, 2005 / Mercer Union, 2007) and Révolutions (Ville de Montréal collection, Parc Maisonneuve-Cartier, 2003). The MAC collection includes the imposing sculpture Black Whole Conference, 2006, a spherical assemblage of 72 chairs, and the recently added Dead Star, 2008, Cut into the Dark, 2010, and Drunken Brawl, 2011, acquired at the sixth edition of the National Bank Private Wealth 1859 Collectors Symposium. Works by de Broin may also be found in private and public collections in France, Germany, Korea, the United States and Canada.

In connection with this exhibition, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has published Michel de Broin, a 160-page catalogue illustrated with 30 colour plates; some 60 black-and-white photographs illustrate his earlier works. The publication includes an essay by Daniel Sherer, titled “Entropic Engines and Retooled Appliances: Michel de Broin and the Technological Unconscious,” and an interview with the artist, by curator Mark Lanctôt. It may be purchased at the MAC Boutique and in bookstores.

Source and information:
Wanda Palma, MACM, Head of Public Relations, wanda.palma [​at​] / T 514 847 6232

Visual material available: – Newsroom – Link: visual material – User name: presse – Password: gtrcmedias

Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
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