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Mark Lewis: In a City

Skaters on Ice Rink in Nathan Phillips Square

Mark Lewis: In a City

September 8–October 26, 2009

Curated by Barbara Fischer

Presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival’s Future Projections Program

Justina M. Barnicke Gallery

The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery is pleased to announce the first major public exhibition of Mark Lewis in Toronto, In a City. Featuring the North American premiere of the critically acclaimed trilogy Cold Morning, the three new works were originally commissioned by the JMB Gallery and co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada, for Mark Lewis’s presentation as the official Canadian representative at the Venice Biennale (53rd International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia), the world’s oldest and most prestigious Biennale of contemporary art.

Distinguished by their extraordinary capacity to express and explore place, Lewis’s films have often been described as pure temporal experiences. His visually evocative, predominantly silent films focus on incidental places encountered in everyday life. His nuanced depictions of the contemporary city transform seemingly quotidian activities into profound cinematic observations.

Mark Lewis was born in Hamilton in 1958. Although he is currently based in London, England, he continues to make many of his films on location in Toronto, where he spent much of his youth and early working career. In a City is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on Mark Lewis’s cinematic engagement with Toronto, including such iconic locations in Toronto as High Park or the railway lands near the CN Tower. The selected works highlight sets of cinematic techniques (such as the zoom, pan, or tracking shot) while focusing on the social and spatial complexities of urban modernity and its utopian aspirations. The self-reflective possibilities of filmic methods are an important feature of the new trilogy of films, Cold Morning, as well. They appear there in such diverse manifestations as black wipes that intervene in a vertiginous view from the 54th floor of the TD Centre onto downtown traffic, as they do in the use of the historical Hollywood technique of rear projection in Nathan Phillips Square, A Winter’s Night, Skating (2009). The simultaneity of two temporal and spatial planes that characterizes rear projection continues to represent new possibilities for structuring the visual experience and hierarchy of background and foreground as it appears in film and in social space.


Tuesday October 26, 2009, 6-7pm
Featuring Mark Lewis
Debates Room, Hart House

Opening Reception

Tuesday October 26, 2009, 7-9:30pm
Featuring DJ Jan Lankisch
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
Hart House Courtyard


Three Films by Mark Lewis
Wednesday September 9, 2009-Sunday, January 3, 2010
The Art Gallery of Ontario


Mark Lewis Presents Rear Projection’s Greatest Hits
Thursday October 15-Tuesday, October 20, 2009
TIFF Cinematheque

Media Coverage

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the special project support from the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts and the Toronto Arts Council, with additional support from the Canada Council for the Arts and Partners in Art and presented in collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival’s Future Projections Program, generously supported by the Hal Jackman Foundation. The films of Cold Morning were co-produced by Mark Lewis Studio and the National Film Board of Canada.

Title Image: Mark Lewis, Cold Morning (video still), 2009. Single screen projection, HD video. 7 minutes, 35 seconds.

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