Michel de Broin and Eve Sussman at the MAC
To launch the summer season, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC) is presenting a critical overview of the work of artist 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. At the same time, the MAC has mounted the first solo show in Canada focusing on Brooklyn-based artist Eve Sussman and Rufus Corporation.
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⎯an 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 2/3-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), and Révolution (Rennes, 2010).
Michel de Broin and Eve Sussman, Rufus Corporation will be on view at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal from now until September 2, 2013, macm.org
Images courtesy of Michel de Broin
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