Michel de Broin

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Michel de Broin
Révolutions, 2003, Papineau metro station, Montréal
Born 1970
Montreal, Quebec
Alma mater Concordia University
Occupation visual artist
Known for public art
Awards Sobey Art Award (2007)
Website Michel de Broin

Michel de Broin (born 1970 in Montreal, Quebec) is a Canadian sculptor. De Broin has created numerous public artworks in Canada and Europe, including the Salvador Allende monument in Montreal. He was the recipient of the 2007 Sobey Art Award.


Michel de Broin was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1970.[1] He studied studio arts at Concordia University, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1995, and at UQÀM where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1997.[2][3] After starting his career in Montreal, from 2005 he lived in Paris, London and Berlin before returning to Montreal in 2011.[4]

Interdisciplinary practice[edit]

L'Arc, 2009, monument to Salvador Allende, Montreal

Since the 1990s, Michel de Broin has developed an interdisciplinary practice that questions the limits of social and technical systems. He often incorporates humour and playfulness in his work, but also critique.[5] Energy and resistance are recurrent themes in his practice.[6][7][8] De Broin also uses video, performance, drawing, photography and found objects in his work. Many of the objects he has created consist of a détournement of familiar objects and forms that turn back against themselves to show their internal paradoxes.[9] Conceptual art is a source of inspiration for his practice. For example, in his show "Dangerous Substance" (Matière dangereuse, 1999), he reinterpreted Kasimir Malevitch's famous "black square on white ground".[10]

Main works[edit]

Shared Propulsion Car consists of a wrecked Buick 1986 car whose engine was replaced by bicycle pedals.[11] It was presented in New York at Exit Art and Toronto at Mercer Union.[12] A Toronto policeman issued a ticket[13] for "Operating an Unsafe Vehicle" to Dean Baldwin, the driver of the pedal car, but the charge was later dismissed in court.[14][15]

Black Whole Conference consists of a group of chairs attached to each other at the legs to create a sphere. It is part of the collection of the Musée d'art contemporain du Val-de-Marne.[16]

Overflow, a piece in the ruined remains of an old Toronto prison chapel, consisted of a waterfall bursting out of a window.[17]

La maîtresse de la Tour Eiffel was created for the Nuit Blanche in Paris (2009). It consists of a 26 feet mirror ball made of 1000 mirrors and suspended from a crane 150 feet above the Luxembourg Garden.[18][19] The mirror ball broke a Guinness World Record.[20]

Majestic was presented as a satellite project of New Orleans Biennal in 2011.[21] Lamposts blown down by hurricane Katrina were assembled in the shape of a star.[22] The sculpture was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada thanks to a donation by the philanthropists Donald and Beth Sobey.[23]

Public Art[edit]

Bloom, Michel de Broin, St. Patrick's Island, Calgary, Alberta 2015

De Broin's sculpture entitled Bloom, which was inaugurated in August 2015, is "one of the most visible landmarks on Calgary's St. Patrick's Island. The sculpture, which was commissioned by the Calgary Municipal Land Corporation, is "23 metres-high, with working lights on many of its branches that illuminate its surroundings at night."[24][25]

Révolutions is a sculpture representing a staircase twisted into a knot.[26] It was installed in 2003 during the renovation of Papineau metro station in Montreal.[27]

Monument is a sculpture installed in a parc of Winnipeg in 2009. It reinterprets the classical theme of drapery by presenting two ghostly characters standing under a sheet.[28][29]

L'Arc (2009) is a monument commemorating Salvador Allende. It is situated on the île Notre-Dame in Montreal.[30][31]


In 2006, he received the Prix Reconnaissance UQAM[3][32] In 2007, he received the Sobey Art Award.[3][33][34]

Selected exhibitions[edit]




  • Car Fetish. I drive therefore I am, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Suisse[39]
  • Parking de sculptures, Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France[40]


  • La Maîtresse de la Tour Eiffel, Nuit Blanche, Paris, France[18][19]
  • Disruption from Within, Plug In, Winnipeg, Canada[41]





  • Damage Control, Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, Toronto, Canada

2002[citation needed]

  • Épater la Galerie, Villa Merkel, Esslingen am Neckar, Germany[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Michel de Broin 1970 -". National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  2. ^ "Michel de Broin". Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "L'artiste Michel de Broin, diplômé de l'UQAM, gagnant du prix Sobey 2007". Université du Québec à Montréal. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  4. ^ McLaughlin, Bryne. "Michel de Broin: Cities of Light". Canadian Art. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  5. ^ Petrowski, Nathalie. "Michel de Broin: à l'envers du monde". La Presse. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Michel De Broin: Retooled Appliances". digicult.it. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  7. ^ Sherer, Daniel. "The Object has a Life of its Own: Michel de Broin in Conversation with Daniel Sherer". Whitehot Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Perfectly Impossible". National Post. Canada.com. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  9. ^ McLaughlin, Bryne. "Reviews: Michel de Broin". Art in America Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Michel de Broin and Eve Sussman at the MAC". Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  11. ^ Huy Tuan Ly; Christine Biehler; Hans-Heinrich Bass (2011). Auf dem Weg zu nachhaltigen städtischen Transportsystemen. Rainer Hampp Verlag. pp. 181–. ISBN 978-3-86618-739-9. 
  12. ^ "Shared Propulsion Car". Mercer Union. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  13. ^ Micallef, Shawn. "Fred Flintstone & pedal powered cars beware". Spacing Toronto. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  14. ^ "Artist beats ticket for 'driving' pedal car". Toronto Star. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  15. ^ Scott, Graham F. "Pedal-powered car/sculpture beats 'unsafe vehicle' rap". Precedent Magazine. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "Michel de Broin". Musée d'art contemporain du Val de Marne. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  17. ^ "Michel De Broin". Art public Montreal. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  18. ^ a b "La 8e Nuit Blanche attire 1,5 million de promeneurs". L'express. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  19. ^ a b Jenny Moussa Spring (March 17, 2015). Unexpected Art: Serendipitous Installations, Site-Specific Works, and Surprising Interventions. Chronicle Books LLC. pp. 32–. ISBN 978-1-4521-4407-8. 
  20. ^ "Michel de Broin: Cities of Light", Canadian Art. [1]. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  21. ^ Geddes, John. "A star sculpture brings a New Orleans back story to Canada". Macleans. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  22. ^ Yoo, Alice. "New Life for 10 Lamp Posts Torn Out by Hurricane Katrina". My Modern Met. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Philanthropists Donald and Beth Sobey donate Michel de Broin sculpture Majestic to National Gallery of Canada ", National Gallery of Canada. [2]. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  24. ^ Hahnoczky, Julya (August 5, 2015). "Photo Tour of St. Patrick's Island: The ponds, picnic spots and pathways". Avenue Calgary. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  25. ^ Mcintosh, Emma. "Bloom artwork announced for St. Patrick's Island". Calgary Herald. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  26. ^ Paula Perissinoto; Ricardo Barreto (2005). Hipermídias. FILE. pp. 93–. ISBN 978-85-89730-03-7. 
  27. ^ "Michel De Broin Révolutions". Ville de Montreal. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Monument". Winnipeg Arts Council. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  29. ^ "7 Must-See Pieces of Free Winnipeg Art". Where.ca. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  30. ^ "Montréal et la communauté chilienne rendent hommage à Salvador Allende par l'inauguration de l'œuvre d'art public L'Arc de Michel de Broin", City of Montreal. [3]. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  31. ^ "L'Arc". City of Montreal. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Prix Reconnaissance UQAM 2006. Le talent de faire parler les objets", UQÀM, May 11, 2006. [4]. Retrieved May 24, 2013.
  33. ^ "Montreal's Michel de Broin wins Sobey Art Award". CBC. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  34. ^ "Michel de Broin". Canadian Art. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  35. ^ "Michel de Broin". MAC. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  36. ^ Delgado, Jérôme. "Montréal – Michel de Broin s'expose au MAC". Le Devoir. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  37. ^ "Oh, Canada: Contemporary Art from North North America". Esker Foundation. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  38. ^ Adams, James. "Oh, Canada: 62 artists, 120 works, four years in the making, 100-per-cent Canadian". The GLobe and Mail. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  39. ^ "Car Fetish. I drive, therefore I am.". Museum Tinguely. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  40. ^ "PARKING DE SCULPTURES". Le Confort Moderne, centre d'Art Contemporain. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  41. ^ "Michel de Broin: Disruption from within". Plug-In. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  42. ^ Tousignant, Isa. "The Quebec Triennial in Review: Provincial Powerhouse". Canadian Art. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  43. ^ "Overflow". CCCA. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  44. ^ "De-con-structions: A meeting with unpredictable twists and turns". National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  45. ^ Charron, Marie-Ève. "Pièces à conviction". Le Devoir. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Michel de Broin". Villa Merkel. Retrieved June 18, 2016. 

External links[edit]