​Christian Nicolay

Image:  NO  WHERE NOW  HERE (installation view), 2018, Residency Exhibition XPO, ARE Holland, Enschede Netherlands. See more here.


Introducing Christian Nicolay (b. 1977, Edmonton, AB Canada; lives and works in The Netherlands), one of the artists participating in New Poetics of Labor 2018.


Christian Nicolay is a Canadian interdisciplinary artist based in Vancouver, BC. His diverse body of work employs a wide range of media and techniques including drawing, painting, sculpture, video, sound, performance and installation – to create works that explore themes of paradox, politics, social activity, cultural identity and the origins of things. Nicolay has several ongoing long-term projects that unite his day-to-day experiences with his practice challenging notions of factuality and fiction.

Artist Statement:

“My art practice is about

paying attention

to systematic confusion


systematic confusion

1, a paradox, or unity of opposites.  2, a process of building or arranging disregarded material into something regarded, regarding the disregarded.

3, noticing the unnoticeable; finding the unusual in the familiar.”


Temporary Landscape No. 1, 2015; Light jet photograph, salvaged Plexiglas, MDF, acrylic paint,  ink, pencil, tape, white-out  32″ x 60″ x 5″

Temporary Landscape No.1 is a form of sculptural graffiti that is left among a landscape waiting to be found, moved, destroyed or collected. The pallet is made in 2 parts, which connect together visually but remain detached from one another. One has a tracking device to monitor its whereabouts or locate and the other does not.

See more here.

To take art outside of the studio or gallery space collaborating with unsuspecting participants has played a significant roll in many of Nicolay’s projects – to challenge conventional perceptions of what has value and what does not.

Temporary Landscape No. 1 is part of NPoL’s first event in Teatro Lido on May 3!

See more here and here.


“1) WET PAINT is my moniker. WET PAINT is labeled on every artwork I place outside in the streets. Some call it vandalism or littering and others call it art.

2) You can travel the world and find the universal “Wet Paint” signs taped to freshly painted areas. It is a cautionary message warning you of its wetness. If you brush up against it, it will rub off on you. The same can be said about running into rogue art in the streets, it rubs off on you.

3) Wet Paint signs are temporary. The paint dries and the sign is no longer needed. If the sign is not moved or collected it will disintegrate from the elements and blow away into gutters and the corners of parking lots.

The destiny of my WET PAINT works mimic the destiny of WET PAINT signs, they are temporary. Left to the elements they eventually fade away, get moved, are destroyed or collected.”



The Day Job (First excerpt, 2016), Single channel video, 06:56 min, 2003 – Ongoing

The Day Job started in 2003, this is the first excerpt from hundreds of hours of footage over the years. What started out as a day job has now become part of Nicolay’s routine injecting the unusual into the familiar, hiding art in hard to find places. To notice the unnoticeable, to look where no one does, like a quasi-archeological expedition of absurdity and truth, quixotic adventures of surprise and play. Remember, whatever you are looking at is just the surface layer. Peel it like an onion and see what you can find.



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