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Michel de Broin

The Abyss of Liberty


Michel de Broin
Born in Montreal in 1970


The Abyss of Liberty




Bronze, 2/3


209.5 x 76 x 60 cm (approx.)


Anonymous gift, inv. 2017.403


Quebec and Canadian Art

Drawing on the famous Auguste Bartholdi statue unveiled in New York in the nineteenth century, Michel de Broin questions the notion of liberty by placing the iconic figure in a precarious position. He shows it upside down, balancing on its flame. By reducing the figure to a human scale, the artist strips it of its awe-inspiring nature, creating a closeness between the viewer and the object. With its hollow interior made visible, this bronze cast conjures up a kind of abyss in which the idealization of liberty falters.

The power of the image lies in its evocative simplicity—a metaphor for the political climate in the United States following the events of September 11, 2001. In the wake of a feeling of insecurity and collective panic, The Abyss of Liberty alludes to attacks on freedom and democracy.

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