March 2013

Nicolas Baier: saluting the passage of time

For immediate release

Montréal, March 6, 2013 – The work of art by Nicolas Baier, which greets visitors in the foyer of the Mariners’ House, is entitled Vanitas 3. The Mirrors of Time. It can even be seen from outside, and was designed specially for Pointe-à-Callière’s fifth building as part of the policy for the integration of the arts in architecture and the environment administered by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications. The creation – a huge photographic mural that covers almost the entire west wall of the Mariners’ House foyer – consists of 75 digitized images of 75 old and new mirrors. Each print is mounted on a sheet of steel and set behind plexiglas. This work was chosen for the way it reflects the Museum’s approach, as well as for its allusions to the past and to memory.

A piece that alludes to the past
The artist was inspired by the Museum, which he describes as a wonderful, essential place devoted to memory. He wanted to acknowledge, celebrate and symbolize this function with a piece of art that references the concrete effects of the passage of time, marked by the years, showing wear, scratches and crazing. The end result is an intimate self-portrait of a means we use to expose the world’s memories and seek the traces of time – in just the same way as the Museum does. The artist visited antique shops, stores and people’s homes and even sifted through trash to find the mirrors, in Quebec and Europe. This painstaking process recalls the work of historians and archaeologists. In addition, the appearance of the work and the orderly layout of the boxes evoke the dig squares on an archaeological site.

A Montréal artist
Montréal-born Nicolas Baier studied at Concordia University (Studio Arts, 1994). His work has been exhibited since 1992 and graces a number of major collections in Quebec and Ontario. In 2012, he created the permanent artwork for the Place Ville-Marie esplanade to salute the building’s 50th anniversary. In 2000, he received the Pierre Ayot award for excellence among young visual artists in Montréal presented by the Association des galeries d’art contemporain and the City of Montréal’s Service du développement culturel et de la qualité du milieu de vie.