Mark Lewis: Anniversary

November 2, 2017 – January 13, 2018

Opening reception: November 2, 6:00 – 8:00pm

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Anniversary is taking place towards the end of a yearlong, country-wide celebration, and hopefully interrogation of the value, meaning, exclusions and consequences of Canada’s own anniversary, its sesquicentennial. Anniversaries can sometimes feel like arbitrary markings, but they have become an intrinsic part of how we invent and manage the semiotics of our daily lives, enabling us, sometimes clumsily, to abstract, mold and take the measure of things amidst the mess of endless repetition and trivia.

In a more personal tone, Anniversary examines how Lewis’ father, escaping the aftermath of Nazi Germany and imprisonment in 1940’s Palestine, came to Canada in order to make a new life with his family. 2017 is the 100th anniversary of Lewis’s father’s birth. But, put simply, 2017 is his anniversary, and remarkably spans a full 100 years between the October Revolution of 1917 and Canada’s sesquicentennial. It’s a century in which the first half can be said to have been characterized by an increasing belief in the radical and utopic possibilities of the future (despite the gloom and terror of European fascism), and the second half by what the Italian Marxist Franco Berardi has described as the future’s slow cancellation. Regarding 1967 Lewis notes “In that regard, the century’s pivot and high point is, literally and metaphorically, 1967: Canada’s centenary, my father’s fiftieth anniversary, and also the occasion of the World’s Fair in Montreal.”

To mark the occasion of Lewis’ third exhibition at Daniel Faria Gallery, the gallery is publishing a new text by him entitled Anniversary. In the text Lewis discusses some of the ideas and historical motifs that have informed his recent ‘Canada’ films, three of which will be shown as part of this exhibition, while others are currently on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario until December 10, 2017. Two films from ‘Canada’ were filmed at Gander International Airport. Lewis writes in his text “Lounge (2017), picks up on the International terminal’s obvious, modernist-inspired celebration of the future. The airport terminal was, and still is after a few unfortunate renovations, a minor modernist masterpiece. The lounge is often described in architectural and design literature as the single most important modern room in Canada…. The new terminal, when it opened, was designed to announce to it’s temporary visitors, who might never come back again, that Canada was a country of the future: modern, forward thinking and with its best still to come. The terminal was literally an eye catching, three-dimensional immigration invitation: Stay! Nice idea, but only if you forget that Canada then had a virtual whites only immigration policy. Any people of colour enjoying the cool modernism of the airport lounge could look and linger for a while, but definitely could not stay.”

Mark Lewis was born in Hamilton, Ontario and currently lives and works in London, U.K. Lewis attended Harrow College of Art in London and the Polytechnic of Central London, and began his career as a photographer before moving into film. In 2009, Lewis represented Canada in the 53rd Venice Biennale, curated by Barbara Fischer. Recently, Lewis had a presentation at the Sao Paulo Biennial, Sao Paulo, Brazil (2014) and solo exhibitions at Canada House, London (2015), Le Bal, Paris (2015), The Power Plant, Toronto (2015), The Louvre, Paris (2014), and The Contemporary Austin, Austin, Texas. Previous solo exhibitions in museums around the world include: Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto); Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver); BFI Southbank (London); and the Musée d’art Moderne (Luxembourg). The exhibition Mark Lewis: Canada is currently on view at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (until December 10, 2017).