Michel de Broin
Anxious Stability, 1997-2014
Brick, Mortar, Metal Beams, Hydraulic Jack
This is a re-activation of one of de Broin’s earliest works, and a performance of the “magic realism” with which he treats architectural absolutes. In the canons of such convention, the column stands alone as the archetypal load-bearing Atlas. In the CAC it assumes an especially conspicuous role as Zaha Hadid bestowed her concrete pillars with both aesthetic and spatial swagger. De Broin follows this lead but unsettles its structural conceit, turning the spotlight on a tentative column to examine its underlying contingency. Like walking into the middle of a levitation daydream, this column is squeezed precariously into space – resting on little more than a humble hydraulic jack and a stack of metal beams. Tension and titillation accrue in equal measure as the column is tenuously held in place against the ceiling, reversing the typical weight-bearing relationship between post and lintel. As it sits poised to tip, the illusions of certainty and control we impart upon our buildings also begin to teeter. Without function, free of architectural responsibility, this reborn column is allowed to float into new possibility.