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Mark Lewis: Five Landscapes

Canada House Gallery - Galerie de la Maison du Canada

Canada Gallery - How to find us
Pall Mall Entrance, free admission

October 9 to December 12, 2015
Monday to Saturday
11:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Each weekday will be devoted to a single film - film schedule.
Saturdays all five films will run on a loop. (Total time: 42’33’’)

Canada House welcomes Mark Lewis

London, United Kingdom - The Canada Gallery is pleased to announce that it will host a new exhibit by celebrated Canadian artist Mark Lewis.

Mark Lewis: Five Landscapes is an exhibition of five short films, each one shot in a different city over the past six years. The setting is often the lead character in a Mark Lewis film and that is especially true here: a distinctive landscape or a forceful structure was the spur behind each of the five films exhibited at Canada House.

Canadian Mark Lewis lives and works in London.

Celebrated for his short films, Mark represented Canada at the 53rd Venice Biennale and he has exhibited at the Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), National Gallery of Canada, MoMA (New York), BFI Southbank (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Louvre (Paris) and the 31st Bienal de São Paulo. His feature film titled Invention premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2015.

The Canada Gallery’s ongoing program is generously supported by our Principal Sponsor - Dahdaleh Foundation, chaired by Victor Phillip Dahdaleh.

This exhibit is curated by Craig Burnett and is supported by Mark Lewis’ gallery, Daniel Faria Gallery.


Mark Lewis: Five Landscapes is an exhibition of five films by Mark Lewis, each one shot in a different city over the last six years. The setting is often the lead character in a Mark Lewis film and that is especially true here: a distinctive landscape or a forceful structure was the spur behind each of the five films exhibited at Canada House.

The locations range across the globe. The earliest film, Hendon F.C. (2009), was shot at an abandoned football ground in northwest London, while the newest, Pavilion (2015), was made at a banking centre in the heart of downtown Toronto. Forte! (2010) was shot in Italy’s Aosta Valley, Beirut (2012) in Beirut, and Above and Below the Minhocão (2014) in São Paulo. While each film was shot in a different city under very different circumstances, from the gruelling heat of a Lebanese dusk to the punishing cold of a Canadian winter morning, a set of similar concerns unites them. In each film, we observe the effect of the built environment on human behaviour, the frames and measures that alter our perception of ourselves – and others around us.

Hendon F.C. (2009)The abandoned football ground of Hendon F.C. became a temporary encampment for a group of Roma, which Lewis discovered while biking near the north circular, an area of London that has featured in many of his works. A rectangular area is a distinct space, separate from the rules of the outside world – first for sport, then as a refuge and a place to live.

Forte! (2010)Forte! was shot in the environs of the Forte di Barda, a military stronghold from the Napoleonic era in the Italian Alps. Invited to exhibit in the fort’s museum, and make a film about the structure, Lewis observed that the design of the fort, formidable in its day because of the hilltop setting and hulking walls, was highly vulnerable from above. The camera in Forte! becomes a menacing drone, lingering on a snowy mountaintop before descending precipitously on the fort itself. As it circles the building, the occupants flee as if suddenly aware of a threat from above.

Beirut (2011)In Beirut, the camera moves along a mundane street at dusk, taking in a few street signs before rising alongside the sign for the Napoleon Hotel. As the camera climbs, it seems to be seeking something, a predator in search of prey. The camera in a Lewis film often has this implied consciousness, as if the machine itself were directing the film, looking for things to photograph. We travel with the camera as it caresses the architecture, drifting across the street to another rooftop where a woman swims forceful laps in a tiny pool.

Above and Below the Minhocão (2014)The setting of Above and Below the Minhocão is a raised highway, pedestrianized on Sundays, that bisects São Paulo. In the long shadows of a tropical evening, people run, walk their dogs, or just sit and talk in the middle of the road. A woman jogs towards the camera and pauses at a barrier, glancing below the road to see a man on his mobile phone. As he continues to talk, oblivious to his voyeur above him, he walks beneath the viaduct, and she follows him. While watching this mini melodrama, you might be distracted by the setting and its countless characters. The film uses urban architecture to emphasise the importance of viewpoints and perspectives, hinting at the countless, unknowable inner lives of everyone around us.

Pavilion (2015)Pavilion, the most recent film, was shot in the TD Centre in Toronto, Ontario, a cluster of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The ‘Pavilion’ that gives the film its name is a single-story structure amid six banking towers. The camera drifts through the building, seemingly mesmerised by the pulsating grid of the architecture. Outside, in a small grey square carved from the snow, a man twirls and spins on a BMX bike while pedestrians shuffle through the snowbound plaza.

A Mark Lewis film is a hybrid entity: equal parts documentary and fiction, a still picture and a movie. The artist directed some of what you see, while much of it happened to be taking place at the scene during production. Equally, Lewis plays with the conventions of composition in pictorial art and narrative structure in cinema: the moving camera breaks the frame of the picture, while the looped format replaces narrative with repetition.

Each weekday will be devoted to a single film, (Monday features Hendon F.C., Tuesday Forte!, etc.) On Saturdays, the Canada Gallery will play the films in sequence in a five-film loop. The structure of the exhibition offers two different ways to experience the films. Looped, you watch the film as you might look at a picture: slowly, repeatedly, finding new details in every frame, a chance to see the overall composition of a single work. On Saturdays, the sequential format allows you to see the common methods and motifs that Mark Lewis uses to pace and arrange his landscapes. Among other things, you might notice that the characters in the films revel in frames as much as the artist: the swimmer in Beirut, the biker in Pavilion and the children playing with a ball in Hendon F.C. are surrounded by walls and borders, yet find within these structures a liberating freedom of movement and play.

Craig Burnett --

Film schedule:

  • Mondays: Hendon F.C. (2009) – 5’ 52”.
  • Tuesdays: Forte! (2010) – 6’14’’.
  • Wednesdays: Beirut (2011) – 8’11”.
  • Thursdays: Above and Below the Minhocão (2014) – 11’14’’.
  • Fridays: Pavilion (2015) – 11’.
  • Saturdays: All Five Landscapes – 42’31’’.


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