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Michel de Broin La conduite des conduites

Works in the exhibition

Galerie Division is pleased to present La conduite des conduites by Montreal artist Michel de Broin. In this solo exhibition, de Broin proposes an interplay between the modeling of behaviour (the French conduites meaning ‘conduit’ but also ‘behaviour’ – in this case of objects or bodies) and the channeling of emotional responses, flows and energy. Using common objects – furniture, pipes, flanges, and light bulbs – the artist complicates our understanding of familiar technical systems, deforming, rupturing or boring holes in otherwise recognizable forms and encouraging the viewer to untangle each object’s contradictions. The curves and sinuosities of his conduits pit dynamic circulation against resistance and dissipation. Defying our expectation that industrial systems be efficient, optimized, and innovative, de Broin imagines systems foreign to those we value in our daily lives. The works open gaps in the world, introducing flaws and spaces freed from the causality shaping our relationship with design.

Syndrome (2018), a large metal pipe folded in on itself overthrows the expected use of a pipeline. Evoking the organic origins of petrol, the tube’s contortion creates a tumescence suggestive of an organ. Reminiscent of the Venus of Willendorf, Syndrome’s sensual curves provoke a consideration of our technological subconscious.

The Twilight (2018) series explores the tension between order and unpredictability. Here, the symbolic link between light and reason is shattered, illumination dwindling into a twilight of ideas. The formal rigidity of the light bulbs’ alignment is undermined by a technique bent on its own destruction and disrepair. Ultimately, the poetry of a ruined technology persists.

Anomaly (2018) appears to emerge from underground, its four copper pipes standing erect like living beings. The Anomaly coil into themselves like organs, forming tumescent knots. We feel their ambiguous presence because of their resistance – that of retained energy suspended before its eventual escape.

Universal Plug and Play (2018) is inspired by a network protocol of the same name used to facilitate the connection of peripheral devices. Here, the poetry of infrastructures suggests a compatibility between conduits of different shapes and appearances. 

Finally, Tube (2018) is a 3D rendering of a conduit comfortably installed on an executive-style desk chair. Seated, rolled into itself, and open at each of its extremities, the tube skews the distinction between interior and exterior. 

Sentient bodies lurk behind these ostensibly technical objects. While we expect them to function and produce, the unpredictable assemblages escape the world of things in search of new and sensitive possibilities.

For over 25 years, Michel de Broin, recipient of a Master of Fine Arts degree from l’UQÀM, has developed a multidisciplinary practice focused on sculpture, video, photography and performance. He is the recipient of the Sobey Prize (2007), the Prix Reconnaissance de l’UQÀM (Montreal, 2006), the Prix Graff (Montreal, 2006) and the Prix Pierre-Ayot (Montreal, 2002). Recipient of the Harpo Foundation Grant (Los Angeles, 2010) and of the Krasner-Pollock Foundation Grant (New York, 1999), he won first prize in the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus public art competition (Berlin, 2011). Notably, his work has been presented at the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Musée contemporain de Montréal, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée d’art contemporain Val-de-Marne (France), the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art (Winnipeg), the Villa Merkel (Esslingen, Germany), the Museum Tinguely (Basel, Switzerland), the Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati, OH, USA), MassMoCA (North Adams, MA, USA), the centre d’art Villa Arson (Nice, France), the Eyebeam (New York, USA), the Berlinische Galerie (Berlin, Germany), and the Hessel Museum of Art (Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, USA).

For more information on the artist