News Releases - 2008
Artist Mark Lewis will represent Canada at the 2009 Venice Biennale of Visual Art
Ottawa, July 16, 2008 – Mark Lewis will be Canada’s official representative at the 2009 Venice Biennale of Visual Art, the world’s oldest venue for the international display of contemporary art. The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at Hart House (University of Toronto), which proposed Mr. Lewis as the Biennale candidate, was the institution selected in a nationwide competition to represent Canadian visual arts at the event. The 53rd editionNovember 22, 2009 in Venice, Italy.
Mr. Lewis’ project for the Canadian Pavilion in Venice is a short, silent film titled Romance that uses the classic film technique of rear projection combined with state of the art digital technology. The rear projection technique brings together in montage form staged events (the foreground action) with documentary footage (the background locations). Mr. Lewis is currently making a documentary on rear projection in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada, the Van Abbemuseum (Netherlands), BRITDOCART (UK) and Le Grand Café St-Nazaire (France).
Official Canadian participation at the Venice Biennale is coordinated by the Canada Council for the Arts with the support from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada and the Canadian Embassy in Rome. The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery is the exhibition’s organizer and Barbara Fischer, the Gallery director/curator, is the exhibition curator.
“It is critical that Canadian contemporary artists travel and exhibit their works internationally,” said Robert Sirman, Director of the Canada Council for the Arts, “and there is no more prestigious international venue in the visual arts than the Venice Biennale. The Council is proud to play a major role in the Canadian representation in Venice.”
“We are deeply proud and thrilled to be able to present Mark Lewis’ new project at the Venice Biennale,” says Barbara Fischer. “Often focusing on singular moments in the contemporary urban or rural environment, his quietly majestic works offer a cinematic experience of time while remarking on the ruptures of history. They combine, in a new way, pictorial traditions with the genres and techniques of film to analyze both, and thereby offer poignant perspectives on the displacements that characterize modern life.”
The Canada Council for the Arts oversees the selection process. The selection was determined by a jury made up of three experts in Canadian and international contemporary art: Greg Bellerby, director/curator of the Charles H. Scott Gallery at the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design; Paulette Gagnon, chief curator of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; and Francine Périnet, director of the Oakville Galleries.
Images of Mark Lewis and his works can be downloaded from the Canada Council image gallery.
Mark Lewis was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1958. He now lives and works in London, England. He attended Harrow College of Art (London) and the Polytechnic of Central London. Starting out as a photographer, Mr. Lewis began making films in the mid‑1990s. He has had numerous solo museum exhibitions, including: the Vancouver Art Gallery, Hamburger Kunstverein, Musée d’art moderne (Luxembourg), BFI Southbank (London), and the National Museum of Contemporary Art (Bucharest, Romania). His work is in many collections including the National Gallery of Canada, Museum of Modern Art New York, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and the Centre Pompidou (Paris).
Mr. Lewis is the co-founder, with Charles Esche, of Afterall – a research and publishing organization based at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. He is a founding and co-editor of Afterall Journal, and the series editor of One Work, a series of books, published by Afterall Books that examine important single modern and contemporary works of art. Mr. Lewis is a Research Professor at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London.
Justina M. Barnicke Gallery
The Justina M. Barnicke Gallery is a centre for the research, presentation, and dissemination of contemporary art and its histories. Located at Hart House, at the University of Toronto, it sees its role as a diverse and multi-levelled platform of a critical and vital exchange between artists, contemporary art communities, the University and the broader public. Linked with the Curatorial Studies Program in the Department of Art, the Gallery also seeks to develop new, local and international experimental curatorial positions through public forums, exhibitions, and publications.
In addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts in Canada, the Canada Council for the Arts administers and awards many prizes and fellowships in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and health sciences, engineering, and arts management. These prizes and fellowships recognize the work and achievements of outstanding Canadian artists, scholars, and administrators. The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to the raising of public awareness and celebration of these exceptional people on both a national and international level.
Please visit our website for a complete listing of these awards.
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