January 25 – April 1, 2018

Nicolas Baier

Arsenal Contemporary Toronto is proud to present Chaos & Order, an exhibition of works by acclaimed Quebec artist Nicolas Baier. This exhibition offers a reinterpreted presentation of Baier’s recent exhibitiorn Asterisms, a term used to describe the unscientific, albeit poetic, titles we prescribe to constellations in hopes of better understanding our universe. Asterisms investigated the varied and intricate networks inherent to natural and man-made systems — delving into the rich complexities of roots systems, server farms, and firing neurons. Works in Chaos & Order highlight the entropic beauty, futility, and mayhem intrinsic to the metaphysical world. Having examined his immediate environment through photographic means, Baier has turned towards the macro, creating a visual, technological lexicon to give shape to the immeasurable, the unknowable, and the incomprehensible. 

His past work consisted of a self-reflexive examination of the camera’s possibilities, focusing on the medium’s transformation in the digital age. Baier’s experimentation compelled us to pay attention to the perspectival changes engendered by photography: how the technology alters both the Real and our direct reality. Through the appropriation of a scientific language designed to make these realms accessible, the artist explores the forms of knowledge that allow for these concepts.

In a secular era where meaning is constantly under construction, Baier puts his faith in science as a perceptual tool, extracting its inherent spirituality and integrating it into his work. Making use of the latest technologies, these works become scientific pursuits in their own right.

This is a realm where human and universal time, and scientific and poetic truth enmesh –where we are asked to trade our desire for totalizing knowledge for a sensitive understanding of a Universe that can never be fully constructed.

Nicolas Baier’s work has been presented at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), North Adams; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa, and at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec. His work is found in several public and private collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto, and the Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard School of Business, Cambridge.