September 21 – December 1, 2019

The neon sign Visibility is a Trap invokes Michel Foucault’s theory of panopticism, which argues that a state of permanent visibility induces self-discipline. Within the context of the Exhibition, this work emits its own light and makes the works around it more visible. For Grasso, the interplay between the viewer and the text is key, as the viewer is increasingly visible the closer they are to the neon’s glow.

Commissioned by the Toronto Biennial of Art.


Laurent Grasso (born in 1972, Mulhouse, France; lives and works in Paris, France, and New York, USA) has a multifaceted practice that explores and confronts myths, scientific concepts and historical shapes to materialize space-time explorations. His exhibitions employ various media to immerse the viewer in a world of enigma, between reality and fiction. Laurent was awarded the 2008 Prix Marcel Duchamp Prize and was a 2004–2005 Fellow of the French Academy in Rome at the Villa Medici.

Exhibition Site

259 Lake Shore Blvd East

The life of this nondescript building reveals the area’s economic history. Its first tenant in 1945, the Standard Chemical Company, produced methanol, formaldehyde, and charcoal. A railway line to the south tethered the site to the movement of goods. By 1954, the building was divided into a warehouse and a showroom, a configuration that remained intact over the course of various leaseholders, including oil and electrical supply companies and a series of car dealerships. (The advertising of its most recent tenant, Volvo, is still visible on the façade.) This building’s fate is indeterminate, as real estate development is increasingly filling the voids left by industrial decline.

259 Lake Shore Blvd East
Toronto ON
M5A 3T7