Michel de Broin is a Montreal-born Berlin-based installation artist whose work confronts ordinary objects and everyday situations in strange new ways. This project at the Villa Merkel in Germany plays on the overwhelming role automobiles have had in shaping contemporary culture in very recent history. The juxtaposition of modern symbols of vehicular movement and classic interior designs is stark and thought-provoking.
The arrows are much like those we see on the roadway – brightly lit, large and rectilinear. They point us where to go and tell us what to do if we wish to follow them – but placed in this new context they seem novel and strange once more, as they likely would have to us just a few generations ago.
His work also questions the boundaries of art and architecture in an age of movement. Where does the art installation begin and the building end – when does interior design become art? Conceptually, his idea plays with boundaries and movement in novel ways as shown in the conceptual artistic sketch below.
“Michel de Broin is a perfectly pragmatic artist who attempts to put useless concepts to good use. The intelligence of his project is rooted in the doubt he spreads about the power and value of concepts, which obliges him to truly put them to work in response to the demands of the real. Systematically, with all the seriousness of a civil servant or an engineer—in short, in all irony—the artist mines material and social reality for the freest of concepts and forms to find a legitimate and instrumental form for them in the world of art.”
“Michel de Broin’s artistic intervention, as does an assault or an invasion, encompasses the museological space of arrows, in order to identify the very place of art. But the arrows traverse walls, space, they disappear and criss-cross one another. Where does the art space begin? Where does the art begin? Within the museum walls or outside them? Are we at once “in” the art as soon as we step inside the walls? Is everything art within the assigned limits? The monumental arrows find functionality in the composition of new, fluid, moving, immeasurable spaces. And the visitor—himself a delocalized point—is the only remaining point of convergence of all the designations; he finds himself compelled, in his displacements, to produce these often impossible spaces according to the will of the arrows and according to this young artist’s desire and his game. Without any predetermined route, the viewer will be led to reconstruct the partially provided arrows, following the walls, looking out the windows, exiting the gallery to follow them in their traversal of the walls.”