The Canadian Art Database

Scotiabank Nuit Blanche
Toronto Canada 2013
[Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2006 to 2013]

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Photo: Eirinn Heather Grennan

Michel de Broin - Montréal, Canada

Tortoise, 2013

18 - Campbell House Lawn, 160 Queen Street West (West of University Avenue)

[ photographs ]  [ video ]


The ancient Roman 'tortoise formation' was a siege technique using overlapping shields, giving protection from arrows and boiling oil, and serving as a platform to raise attackers. Inspired by the plated carapace of the land turtle, this military formation was a defensive architecture powered by humans.

Tortoise is a series of assemblage sculptures using standard picnic tables — an immediately recognizable representation of North American leisure culture — as building blocks to construct elaborate structures.

Supporting one another, showing their undersides and legs in an almost defensive manner against surrounding threats, the picnic tables of the Tortoise series form towering look-out and fort-like structures, defining and guarding their inner space. In this way, this symbol of leisure is turned inside out to create sculptures that resist their essential banality.

Michel de Broin (b.1970 Montréal) has garnered an international reputation for his large-scale space-investing projects such as Majestic (New Orleans, 2011), Revolution (Rennes, 2010), La maîtresse de la Tour Eiffel (Paris, 2009), and Overflow (Scotiabank Nuit Blanche Toronto, 2008). In 2007 he was the recipient of the Sobey Art Award, and he has received grants from the Harpo Foundation (Los Angeles) and the Krasner-Pollock Foundation (New York).

Represented by Jessica Bradley

Toronto Culture / Scotiabank