Michel de Broin


Video 2'48, Kreuzberg, Berlin, 2006

As an alternative to petrol, this custom-made bicycle transforms kinetic energy produced by the cyclist into smoke. The will to power is a renewable energy resource that can be recuperated by a power generator supplying enough electricity to operate a smoke machine. The work is the result of two coupled machines; the one human is productive and the other machine, consumptive. This coupling of machines produces smoke, a waste energy that is liberated freely in the atmosphere.


Intervention in the streets of Toronto, video, 3 min 48 s, edition of 5, 2007

The driver of the artwork Shared Propulsion Car is being arrested by Toronto Police on Queen Street West in Toronto. The revolutionary vehicle was made from a Buick Regal 1986 body, stripped of its engine, suspension, transmission and electrical system and propels by the will to power of its passengers. The vehicle provides the illusion of the mass-produced luxury automobile, but is now reduced to a shell with a top speed of 15km per hour. This unique car needs no petrol, produces no toxic emission and is not responsible for the innocent people killed for petrol in the Middle East. Furthermore, in this individualist society, this convivial car was proposed as a good solution to bring people together and take over the street. Dean Baldwin, the driver, took the steering wheel and with his fellows Elaine, Dave and Dan and drove the car smoothly on the streets. The public was enthusiastic, and sympathized with the drivers. They drove nine blocks, from Lisgar to Strachan, before being pulled over by the police.

They had to wait for 30 minutes in the car, while the policemen tried to determine exactly which law was transgressed. They settled on "operating an unsafe vehicle" and a tow-truck was called.


Born in 1970 in Montreal, Michel de Broin lives and works in Montreal and in Berlin.
Through a collection of objects and actions, his works seek to escape the constraining nature of modern utopian aspirations whilst attempting to reenact them in playful, jesting objects that glorify the referent on the one hand while upstaging it on the other.
Drawing on his doubt in the capacity and value of ideas, his sculptural projects seek to put them to the test by literally confronting them with the necessities of reality in assemblage that often troubles the ideas it purports to speak for.

His most recent solo shows include Reciprocal Energy at the the Mac/Val (Vitry-sur seine, Paris, 2008), The National Gallery of Canada ( Ottawa, 2006 and 2007), Musée national des beaux arts du Québec (Québec City, 2006), PSWAR (Amsterdam, 2007), Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin, 2006), Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi (Berlin, 2005), La Bf15 (Lyon, 2005), Galerie Pierre-François Ouellette (Montreal, 2005), La Vitrine  (Paris, 2004) and Villa Merkel, (Esslingen, Germany, 2002).

De Broin has also been part of many group exhibitions in Canada, Europe and United States, among them Villa Arson (Nice 2008), Berlinische Galerie (Berlin, 2007), Plug In (Winnipeg, 2006), Haus Am Waldsee (Berlin, 2006), Kunstverein Wolfsburg (Wolfsburg, 2006).