b. 1970, Montréal, Canada
Lives and works in Montréal
Michel de Broin is best known for interventions and his re-functionalization of utilitarian objects.
Rooted in conceptual premises, de Broin’s work generates unexpected levels of complexity from found objects and physical juxtapositions. Established modes of signification are left behind, yielding retooled technological environments and new possibilities for public space. At times, his ingenuity can be nearly indiscernible upon first glance, appearing as a puzzle for the viewer to complete. For example, Shared Propulsion Car is a human-powered 1986 Buick Regal that de Broin modified furtively. During the Exit Art biennial in 2005, this revolutionary work was driven through Manhattan, presenting challenges to mid-town traffic, despite its petrol-free combustion.
De Broin has exhibited widely in Europe and North America. The first mid-career institutional survey of his work was mounted in 2013 by the Musée d’Art Contemporain, Montréal. Solo exhibitions of his work have also been presented at the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, Winnipeg, Canada (2009); Musée d’Art Contemporain Val-de-Marne, France (2008); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany (2006); Musée National des Beaux Arts du Québec (2006); and Villa Merkel, Esslingen, Germany (2002). His work has been featured in group exhibitions at the Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland; Curitiba Biennial, Brazil; Centre d’art Villa Arson, Nice, France; Eyebeam, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany; Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art, Toronto; and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
In 2014 de Broin will unveil Mehr Licht, a newly commissioned 20-meter project in Berlin for the Marie Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus, at the Bundestag federal parliament. His public art works and commissions in the last decade have included Possibilities, 2012, Mississauga; Interlace, 2012, Changwong; Majestic, 2011, New Orleans; Revolution, 2010, Rennes; La maîtresse de la Tour Eiffel, 2009, Paris; Overflow, 2008, Toronto; Encircling, Christchurch, 2006; Shared Propulsion Car, 2005, New York and 2007, Toronto; and Révolutions, 2003, Parc Maisonneuve-Cartier, Montréal.
Recipient of the 2007 Sobey Art Award, De Broin has also received grants from the Harpo Foundation and Pollock-Krasner Foundation. His works are part of several private and public collections in France, Germany and Canada. De Broin holds a MFA from L’Université du Québec à Montréal and a BFA from Concordia University. Most recently, he was awarded a residency at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York, which will begin March 2014.