Still from São Paulo Parte 1 (2019)
City presents two newly commissioned films by Anglo-Canadian artist Mark Lewis. They can be seen in sequence on the opening hours.
An eye flying over the empty streets of São Paulo unveils a ravaged city.
São Paulo Part 1 and São Paulo Part 2 are long stroll through and between the Teatro de Arte Israelita Brasileiro, known as TAIB, placed at the basement floor of Casa do Povo and the Art Palácio, located at Largo do Paissandú. Both spaces, landmarks of the modern architecture of São Paulo – respectively, a theater conceived by Jorge Wilheim in the 1950s and a cinema designed by Rino Levi in the 1930s –, unfortunately find themselves ruined nowadays. In the movie, however, the logic is inverted. While empty and frozen streets compose a post-apocalyptical setting, both rooms, formerly dedicated to theatrical and cinematographic illusion, are back to lavish their impeccable modernist features – as if it had never known its decay.
Mark is acquainted with the city of São Paulo, its streets and architecture. He has already made eight different films in the city, each one bearing as title the name of the place where the record was made, such as Escalators at Pinheiros, Galeria do Rock, or Vultures on the Edifício Martinelli (2014). None of these movies intends to be a comment on the city itself. They are precise contemplations and silent reflections in which the constructed space and its multiple layers come up as backdrop for daily gestures that, once filmed, turn into urban choreographies.
His camera moves around freely and slowly, soundless, going beyond the limits of the body, passing through voids, flying in between buildings. It ends up resulting in long takes at the threshold of cinema and documental photography. In his previous works, Lewis did not intervene beyond the chirurgical filmic cut. Yet, in recent works, as is the case of Lounge (2017) and Bauhaus (2019), the filmmaker increasingly interferes in the filmed object, even though often unnoticeably. Such shift is a delicate point of inflection in his work, characterizing the two new films commissioned by Casa do Povo. Whether by photographing, cutting, mirroring, or recomposing sceneries, he gets involved in editing experiments without ever letting go of long takes and respecting the own time of things, in order to shed critical light on a crumbling present and thus reveal other possible histories.
About Mark Lewis
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1958, Mark Lewis lives and works in London. In 2009, he represented Canada at the 53rd Venice Biennale with the exhibition Cold Morning. His work has been presented in solo exhibitions at Le Bal (Paris, 2015), The Power Plan (Toronto, 2015), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, 2013), Forte di Bard (Italy, 2011), Canada House (London, 2015), and Louvre Museum (Paris, 2014). In 2015, Mark finished his first feature film, Invention, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and was presented in festivals in Berlin, London, Chicago, as well as the 31st Bienal de São Paulo. In 2017, six of his films were exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario and Austin Contemporary, in Texas. He was awarded with prizes from several Canadian organizations for his work, among which are the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Fine Art.
Paul Brogen and Robert Ashford
Alita Mariah, Lucas Rodrigues (production assistant) e Vanessa Montenegro (production assistant)
British Council, CSN e Canada Art Council for the Arts
Afterall, Central Saint Martins, Cristina Becker, Deborah Cook, Departamento do Patrimônio Histórico, Effie Vourakis, Juliane Gomes, Martin Dowle, Secretaria Municipal de Cultura da Prefeitura da Cidade de São Paulo, University of the Arts, London