Mark Lewis (born 1958 in Vancouver, Canada; lives and works in London, England).
Digital video; Approx. 5 minutes 30 seconds
“The films that comprise Invention (and there are 14 of them) cover a lot of ground. Lewis’ compilation feature covers three cities on three different continents: Toronto, Paris, and São Paolo. Invention is organized into sections, according to the three locations… The final section in São Paolo, originally made for that city’s Biennale, is the most complex portion of Invention, partly because it is comprised of the most individual films, but also because in this section Lewis most fully explores the dialectical capacities of his method. He is able to take this gear up, in, and around both the city (the buildings of Oscar Niemeyer in particular) and within the Museu de Arte, looking both at the organization of public space and the concentrated particularity of the art object. As with Robarts Library, Staircase at the Edificio Copan (2014) is composed on a vertical axis, with all motion pivoting around it. In this case, it is a giant concrete pillar, around which a wide, flat set of outdoor steps gently spirals. By following the steps down and keeping the pillar dead center in the frame, Lewis provides another unexpected look at urban space. The São Paolo cityscape spins into and out of view, regularly interrupted by the undulating façade of Niemeyer’s masterwork. This gives us a subtle critique of urbanism in contemporary Brazil: the modernist aspiration set against a sea of unbridled chaos.”
—Michael Sicinski, “Field Studies: Mark Lewis’ Invention,” Cinema Scope vol. 17, no. 66 (Fall 2016).
“Staircase at the Edifício Copan (2014) feels both sculptural and filmic. Lewis’s camera descends along a spiraling, 459-foot-high fire escape on São Paulo’s Copan Building, designed by Oscar Niemeyer. For over three minutes, the camera tracks around the staircase’s central column with an alien fluidity of movement. Shadows play across the white concrete cylinder as details of the broader cityscape enter and exit the frame.”
—Milena Tomic, “Mark Lewis at Daniel Faria, Toronto,” Art in America, February 25, 2015.