Monday, June 1, 2009

Mark Lewis represents Canada at the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

Cold Morning, a selection of four new films by Mark Lewis, one of Canada’s most internationally renowned artists, will be on view at the Canada Pavilion as part of the 53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2009. On view from 7 June to 22 November 2009, La Biennale di Venezia is the longest-running and most prestigious international venue for presenting contemporary visual art.

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at Hart House (University of Toronto), which proposed Mark Lewis, is the first institution in Canada to commission a new project by the artist. Barbara Fischer, the Commissioner/Curator for the Canada Pavilion is Director/Curator at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery.

Mark Lewis’s films for the Canada Pavilion combine documentary footage and dramatic action with his recent interest in the historical technique of rear projection, resulting in works that explore the history of place and the passage of time. The four autonomous works are presented together in a spatial syntax of oppositions that characterize some of the social tensions and spatial complexities that mark urban modernity as well as the conditions and potential of film as a modern medium. TD Centre, 54th Floor (2009) features a vertiginous view of the pulse of downtown traffic from the 54th floor of Mies van der Rohe’s iconic office tower in Toronto. In the film Cold Morning (2009), also shot in Toronto, Lewis shifts perspective by focusing on the actions of someone who lives and makes his home on the street during one of winter’s coldest days. With the medium of rear projection, Lewis elaborates the spatial dissociation more explicitly at the level of film itself. Set against the autonomous backdrop of pedestrian traffic within a public market, The Fight (2008) observes the to-and-fro of physical conflict without apparent resolution, while Nathan Phillips Square, A Winter’s Night, Skating (2009) follows the undulating narrative of lovers seemingly immersed in the open dream space of an urban skating rink.

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