Mark Lewis — Above and Below


Film, video

Mark Lewis
Above and Below

Past: February 5 → May 17, 2015

Mark Lewis (born 1958) is a Canadian artist, whose work creates a dialogue between film, photography and painting.

“Above and Below is a reference to the title of a work by Mark Lewis which he made in Sao Paolo in 2014: Above and Below the Minhocão. The film was shot in the city centre and its subject is an elevated motorway that crosses the city. The motorway, nowadays, is closed to traffic on weekday evenings and all day Sunday, when it becomes an urban park populated by walkers and cyclists whose activities are essentially centred around leisure and recreation. The Minhocão is something of a modernist monument. When it was built in 1970, it was, at 3.5 km long, the largest road infrastructure project in South America. Urban sprawl, the ever-increasing presence of the motor car (80,000 cars use the motorway every day), air pollution, noise pollution; all these factors make this material excrescence of modernity a monument not to its glory but almost to its demise, a demise which is the flip side of the original modernist aims of progress, speed, efficient population management and also growth. Above and Below thus represents what, in the reality of the contemporary world, has become of the dreams of an earlier age.

The notion of experience lies at the heart of Mark Lewis’ work. Most of his works are short films involving the development of a single shot. The camera advances slowly in the shot and gives the impression of time being stretched, even though nothing is in slow motion. Space also seems to be stretched, while the slow movement of the camera as it lingers on the shot “opens” the shot towards what might be called a “spread” image. In this way, the spectator is drawn in, and the impression is intensified by the size of the projection. The films function best when the size of the projection is on the same scale as that of a body contemplating a natural or urban landscape, or a piece of architecture. What is produced is a sensory experience, an experience with the potential to create in the spectator confronted with the work a broadened consciousness of the world.

The camera movements in the work of Mark Lewis and the insistent way in which he uses them set up another process which slightly resembles dizziness — a vertigo that creates a loss of bearings; that opens up a field of possibilities at the same time as it thwarts the usual way in which the body stands, and recognises and experiences its surroundings. In fact, vertigo imposes a new way of looking at the world on the person suffering from it. One is forced to experience the world differently, to acquire an unaccustomed knowledge and perception of it.

In many films of Mark Lewis, capitalism and bare life are inextricably bound up with each other in his vertiginous and repeated plunges into real-life and the interstices of real-life. That is where life is, that is where any hope of renewal and a new beginning are to be found. ALL I WANT. Once again, what we are being shown here is the potentiality of life. This intensity which changes things, which wrenches the world out of its apparent immutability, can only be captured by attentive scrutiny, by being, in one word, attention itself."

18 Montmartre Zoom in 18 Montmartre Zoom out

6, impasse de la Défense

75018 Paris

T. 01 44 70 75 50

Place de Clichy

Opening hours

Wednesday – Sunday, noon – 7 PM
Late night on Wednesday until 10 PM

Admission fee

Full rate €7.00 — Concessions €5.00

The artist

  • Mark Lewis