Michel de Broin. Machinations

Curator: Nathalie De Blois

Artist: Michel de Brouin

October 19, 2007 - November 24, 2007

Opening: October 18, 2007, 5:30 pm

At 5:30 p.m. on October 18 of this year, the Galerie de l’UQAM is opening Michel de Broin: Machinations, an exhibition devoted to a prolific artist who is very active in Canada as well as on the international scene. In an atmosphere of ambiguity, De Broin is presenting two recent installations that question reality by taking a stand against evidence, digging deep into what passes for truths and ferreting out the errors they contain. The exhibition was curated by Nathalie de Blois and produced in conjunction with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ). The Galerie de l’UQAM is inviting you to a special tour of the exhibition in the company of the artist and curator on October 18 at 5 p.m.

The Exhibition

Michel de Broin: Machinations brings together works that create an atmosphere of uncertainty, apprehension and menace which blurs the boundaries between art and invention, reality and fiction, politics and poetics.

With L’engin, presented for the first time in 2006 at the MNBAQ, Michel de Broin has created an intriguing work in the shape of a monumental egg-shaped object that takes up the main space of the gallery. The introduction of this enigmatic machine into the space recalls the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. No pieces were subsequently found on this site that would have made it possible to convincingly identify the Boeing 757-200 that supposedly crashed into the front of the imposing government building. Many people were skeptical about the official White House explanation, which claimed that the aircraft disintegrated “in the belly” of the building upon impact. Others leaned toward the hypothesis of a missile. Having disappeared as an element of proof, this has now apparently resurfaced as a work of art. By breaking into the gallery with his immense missile-shaped prototype, De Broin makes fun of the hazardous logic underpinning the explanation of the Pentagon, insidiously identifying art with questionable inventions that threaten the political and social order.

Silent Screaming (2006), a bold work that is also part of the exhibition, alludes to the concepts of power and coercion. The apparatus is a sort of stifled circulatory device consisting of a glass jar hooked up to a vacuum pump. This encloses an alarm, muffling the insistent tapping of a tiny hammer on a metal disk and plunging the acoustic signal into silence. By a strange reversal, the alarm, which usually serves to announce an emergency situation, becomes an enemy to be fought, energy to be contained.

The Artist

Michel de Broin was born in Montreal in 1970. He holds a master’s degree in visual art from the Université du Québec à Montréal (1997). His work is distinguished by its great diversity, encompassing photography, video, drawing, sculpture, installation, kinetic devices and actions in public space. The artist uses all these to create images and objects that infiltrate and divert generally accepted formal and conceptual codes.

De Broin’s work has been featured in numerous one-person shows in Quebec, the rest of Canada and abroad. The venues include the Centre des arts actuels Skol (Montreal, 1999), the Villa Merkel in Esslingen (Germany, 2002), La Vitrine (Paris, 2003), BF-15 (Lyons, 2005) and the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin, 2006). De Broin has also taken part in many group exhibitions, such as Artefact, organized by Espace magazine (Montreal, 2001); La demeure, presented by the Centre Optica (Montreal, 2002); Damage Control, at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (Toronto, 2003); the 11th Biennale of the Visual Arts in Pancevo (Serbia and Montenegro, 2004); Canada Dreaming (Wolfsburg, Germany, 2006); and SCAPE 2006, Biennial of Art in Public Space (Christchurch, New Zealand, 2006). The artist has, in addition, received a number of prestigious prizes incuding the Prix Reconnaissance UQAM in 2006, the Graff Prize in 2006, and the Pierre-Ayot Prize in 2002. He has created various public art pieces and done artist residencies in Germany, France and Switzerland. Michel de Broin lives and works in Montreal and Berlin. He is represented by the Galerie Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain.


The Galerie de l’UQAM has received support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

The Publication

A bilingual publication accompanies the exhibition. Produced by the Galerie de l’UQAM and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, this work deals not only with the artist’s recent work but with previous pieces as well, providing an opportunity to examine the full range of De Broin’s art and to see his main concerns in perspective. The essay is by Nathalie de Blois, while Dominique Mousseau did the graphic design. The book can be purchased at the Galerie de l’UQAM for $30.

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