Artist Statement

For almost thirty years, Alain Paiement has been a key figure in contemporary Canadian photography. He researches the possibilities of how photography unfolds through time and space and translates this into images. Through installation, photo series, and video, Paiement experiments with perspective, telescopic views and lenses, as well as scanning, to explore the constantly changing relationship between the subject, its gaze and its environment.

Throughout his career, Paiement has shown interest in the representation of the world in motion at a micro level, by mapping architectures with aerial views, and at a macro level, by sampling representations of solar and lunar cycles. Recently he has created digital installations based on medical and scientific imagery pulled from NASA’s open source databases on the Web. He has also turned his attention to the depths of the ocean to capture videos of the hypnotic ballet of the moon jellyfish, and pieces of ice adrift on the Saint-Lawrence River. In parallel to the reanimation of still images, the effects of false stereoscopic photographs, and infinite loops, in this body of work there underlies an ecological commentary on the growing latent threat of global warming.

Paiement’s current research is motivated by the idea of temporality and the question of how we exist in time. His latest series to come out of this exploration manifests itself by means of overlapping different moments within the creative process itself (recent manipulations of old photographs, for example). These works reflect on the instantaneous nature of contemporary culture and the importance of the present in linking society to its past and to its immanent future.


Alain Paiement (b. 1960) holds a BA and MFA from the Université du Québec à Montréal where, since 2005, he has taught photography at the École des arts visuels.

Paiement’s work has been presented in numerous exhibitions since the 1980s throughout Canada and the United States, but also in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. His work has frequently featured in exhibition catalogues, monographs and articles in various media and specialized journals. He has also produced many public art works, notably Tessellations sans fin (2012) at the CHUM Research Centre in Montreal.

Alain Paiement has received numerous prizes in contemporary photography, including being selected as a finalist for the prestigious ScotiaBank Photo Award in 2012. His work is held in the major private and public collections in Belgium, Spain, the United States, and Canada, where, among other institutions, his work has been collected by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal and The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in Ottawa. Alain Paiement is represented by Gallery Hugues Charbonneau in Montreal.