International exhibitions

Archives 2nd half of 2013

Mark Lewis : 8 Days

Vancouver Art gallery, Offsite (Canada)

18.10.2013 - 30.03.2014

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E-Flux Press release

Mark Lewis' silent moving images use the formalist language of cinema to explore the experience of urban environments in various parts of the world.


Exhibition  18 October 2013 - 30 March 2014. Offsite : West Georgia Street between Thurlow and Bute Streets, Vancouver (Canada). Exhibitions in public space.

Dissident Futures, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2013. All Rights Reserved

Mark Lewis, 8 Days, 2013. HD film, site specific installation at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite. Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery.

For this first projection at the Vancouver Art Gallery's outdoor public art space, Offsite, a diverse selection of Lewis' recent films is featured continuously on an eight-day rotation during the project's four-month duration. 8 Days offers a poetic view of routine everyday situations. Lewis' non-narrative, slow moving pictures both contrast and complement the surrounding cityscape. By focusing on the conventions of film and camera techniques, Lewis encourages viewers to not only look for a narrative, but to also consider the formal aspects of how films are made.

Mark Lewis, 8 Days, 2013. HD film, site specific installation at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite. Photo: Rachel Topham, Vancouver Art Gallery.

Vancouver has been the focus of several of Lewis' films, but those screening at Offsite look to urban landscapes beyond this city, bringing viewers to the streets of Toronto, London and Beirut. In some films everyday moments are isolated and emphasized with a deliberate slowness. For example, the banal action of elevators going up and down in The Moving Image or the hypnotic spinning of clothing in a dryer in Willesden Launderette: Reverse Dolly, Pan Right, Friday Prayer. In others, he deconstructs a film by way of its own components. For instance, observers are immersed in aerial flight as a crane enables a camera to pan across the sky and capture the cityscape in Beirut. In Mid Day, Mid Summer at the Corner of Yonge and Dundas, the film is reversed so that local commuters at a busy intersection in downtown Toronto move backwards, the result of which is both simultaneously familiar and strange. Presented upside-down, One Mile takes a well-controlled circular journey around a monument in the middle of a London roundabout, creating the illusion of a sundial in the sky.

The nature of cinema assumes a stationary viewer in a darkened space, so negotiating a meaningful reception with a mobile audience is a challenge for any urban screening. Lewis' moving images are surrounded by a busy downtown thoroughfare, through which people walk and drive on their way to work, shop, tour or socialize. By presenting Lewis' work in this context of site-specific public artwork, 8 Days questions the need for a quiet location to experience film.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1958, film-based media artist Mark Lewis lives and works primarily in London, UK. He began his career as a photographer, but his interest turned to cinema in the mid-1990s while he was living in Vancouver. In his films, Lewis uses the formal devices of cinema as his subject matter, sometimes subverting these techniques to illustrate their deceptive qualities. His works put forward ordinary depictions of everyday life, often hinting subtly at the underlying tensions of social interactions. He has participated in solo exhibitions throughout Europe and Canada, including his 2009 representation of Canada at the Venice Biennale. Lewis currently teaches at Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and he is also co-founder and co-editor of
Afterall, a publication and research organization located at Saint Martins.

Offsite is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Diana Freundl.