|Peeping Tom by Canadian artist Mark Lewis is a large-scale projection work that extends Lewis investigation into what he terms the parts or bits of cinema: title sequences, endings, intermissions, inserts into existing films and so on. His new work continues this preoccupation through the creation of a short five-minute work that takes its title and its inspiration from Michael Powells seminal 1959 psychological thriller, Peeping Tom.
Also showing in the Gallery Foyer will be a Lewis newest work, a four minute video piece entitled Smithfield. In this film, A cleaner robotically sweeps the floor as the camera swoops along outside, changing the angles, permeating the architecture and allowing us viewers an arresting three-dimensional view of her labour. Shot, like an early Lumiere short, on a single roll of 35mm film, Smithfield rejoices in an almost childish pleasure in the movement of the camera, the richness of the colour and the extraordinariness of capturing movement in this way. The banality of the image evokes something of the heady early excitement of film-makers at the possibilities of their new toy. It points to what we have lost in our age of superabundant media, and how the art context might help us to look at moving images with more attentive eyes. (Extract from Charles Esches text Mark Lewis Films 1995-2000)
||For me films are boring. Much of what they do is simple and repetitive literary exposition - telling the story. My sense of most films is remembering a few great moments...perhaps story-telling is not the most interesting part of cinema. Mark Lewis, Interview in Transcript Vol 3, Issue 3.
Since turning to film in the mid-1990s, Mark Lewis has abided by certain rules of engagement in the practice of his work, rules which apply equally to the works production values and their eventual mode of presentation. All the films are shot on 35mm film, with a professional crew and actors and extras, before being post-produced using high-quality transfer and editing suites. His production budgets are therefore closer to the world of independent film than to traditional art commissions... Although each work has its own formal exhibition solution, there are never any seats provided in the gallery: decisions on when to come and go rest with the viewer, there is no ceremonial process of dimming the lights to prepare for the films to begin. The order in which the viewer experiences the work is accordingly determined by the point at which they enter the space.