Nicolas Baier, who lives and works in Montréal, holds a bachelor’s degree in visual arts from Concordia University. In 2003, he had a solo exhibition titled Scènes de genre at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Place Ville Marie, in 2012, he produced Autoportrait. The work, reproducing a meeting room in nickel, was installed under a glass cube on the esplanade of the tower designed by Ieoh Ming Pie. Baier’s works are in numerous private and public collections, including the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Musée des beaux-arts du Québec, and the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.
The artwork is composed of two photographic montages, one presented on the exterior of the building and the other in the interior. Nevertheless, both elements may be seen from the street. The outdoor vertical panel presents photographs of slices of books and various objects. Each side of the panel has printed different images printed on it. The indoor panel presents an arrangement of seventeen elements that reconstruct the image of an unusual shelving unit. On the shelves appear books, compact discs, documents, and other items.
Through a play on textures and colours, the artwork flirts with the abstract, but an attentive eye recognizes in it the familiar figure of the book. “The presentation of all the documents in section, in an anonymous, secret, hidden way – thus illegible – amplifies the effect of mystery.” In the artist’s view, the work places the viewer at the heart of the essential function of the place and evokes the pleasure of the senses and the mind in contact with what the library contains.