Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran is delighted to present Nicolas Grenier’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, titled Precarious Geographies. A Montreal and Los Angeles-based artist, Nicolas Grenier is known for his plural art practices, ranging from painting to artist-books to architectural installations, but also comprising video works and conceptual performances. In setting up an improbable balance between form and content, his pictorial works combine an abstract aesthetic, served by a meticulous crafting of colour and light contrasts, with a diagrammatic language inspired by architecture, design and other disciplines that code the large-scale power and belief systems of our neoliberal society. His work places the viewer in a context where the borders between utopia and dystopia are blurred, in a space wavering between the pictorial and digital, between the spatial and scale drawings, the credible and the illusory, thus generating a poetics of opposition that triggers a reflection on our own ambiguities.
Mainly made up of paintings, this new body of work translates the artist’s aesthetic and artistic thought and concerns. Nicolas Grenier’s proposal for Precarious Geographies signals a tangible drift from his more imaginary socio-economic models to a content focused on the question of ideological struggle in a more metaphysical approach, notably characterized by the visualization of the relations between time and space, the absurd and absolute. Usually structured into images and texts, these works bring flows, strata, axis, cosmic space, location markers into view, and thus endow the colours, subtle gradations and poetic contrasts—typical of his pictorial aesthetic—with a hermeneutic depth.
Grenier is a politically engaged artist who uses his works to tackle the philosophical and moral dimensions linked to taking political stances. His paintings propose various ways of visualizing, even mapping, the relation that links a quest for the absolute and themes pertaining to activism, violence, a changing social order and the collapse of the status quo. His work simultaneously points to art’s capacity to perceive an infinite potential from which to draw sumptuous ideals—social aesthetic or otherwise—and its limits in the face of the absurdity of human experience. It is in this oscillation that his work exerts its attraction.
Nicolas Grenier holds a MFA from California Institute of the Arts. His work has been regularly shown in various well-reputed venues during exhibitions such as Giles (Gagosian Gallery, Athens), Vertically Integrated Socialism (Triennale de Bruges 2015, Belgium), Promised Land Template (Biennale de Montréal de 2014 at Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and at Commonwealth & Council, Los Angeles), One Day Mismatched Anthems Will Be Shouted In Tune (Luis De Jesus, Los Angeles), The Work of the Work (University of California, Santa Barbara), Building on Ruins (Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles) and Marginal Revolutions (KUAD Gallery, Istanbul). His work is part of various private and public collections, such as the collections of the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, National Bank, Royal Bank of Canada, Loto-Québec and Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. He received the Prix Pierre-Ayot in 2016 awarded by the City of Montreal.
The artist and the gallery wish to thank the Conseil des arts du Québec, SODEC, AGAC and the City of Montreal for their generous support. The artist would like also to thank Tyson Atkings, Will Gaucher and Nicolas Novali for their technical support.