Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak
. . . before I wake, 2001-2012
Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal
22.10.14 – 04.01.15

The video installation . . . before I wake, 2001-2012, has three elements: We’re Getting Younger All the Time, 2001, and Practicing Death, 2003, are shown on television monitors, while Entranced, 2012, is centrally projected.

We’re Getting Younger All the Time is a double self-portrait: ten minutes recorded each hour over a twelve-hour day and played at super-high speed in reverse. Time retreats before us, marked on these two bodies. The three-minute loop Practicing Death shows two sleeping faces in filtered black and white, with a fragmented, musing text overlay.

Entranced was shot during hypnosis sessions, where Steele and Tomczak – separately – were guided through an imagined, oddly familiar space, alone. Their projected, shadowy figures alternate, providing the hypnotist with at times barely discernible answers, rendered as subtitle. Entranced provides a long-sought resolution to the fears touched on in We’re Getting Younger… and Practicing Death, and gives a release at last from an earlier period of ill-health when looking forward could only be frightening and painful.

Though the installation . . . before I wake is exploratory and intensely thoughtful, its inevitable subtext considers an empty future, devoid of loved ones and of present joy. The first part of the installation title would be, of course, “If I should die . . .“
—PG

. . . before I wake, 2001-2012, video and audio installation, English with French subtitles, 21 minutes, installation dimensions variable (courtesy of the artists)
. . . before I wake, 2001-2012, video and audio installation, English with French subtitles, 21 minutes, installation dimensions variable (courtesy of the artists)
Biography

Lisa Steele was born in 1947 in Kansas City, MO. Kim Tomczak was born in 1952 in Victoria, BC. They live and work in Toronto. Co-founders of the Toronto media arts centre Vtape, they teach at the University of Toronto, where Steele is the Associate Chair of the Department of Art and Graduate Program Director of the Masters of Visual Studies. Steele and Tomczak have worked exclusively in collaboration since 1983, producing videos, performances, photo/text works and public commissions.

Solo exhibitions of their work have been held at A Space, Toronto (2013); 1965 Gallery and VIVO, Vancouver (2012); Centre WHARF in Hérouxville-Saint-Clair, France (2010); Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto (2010); Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart (2009); Central Bathhouse, Sofia, Bulgaria (2008); Centre Dazibao, Montréal (2008); and Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris (2003). Their works have also been included in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1996); London Institute (2000); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); Akbank Sanat, Istanbul (2009); and Le Mois de la Photo in Montréal (2011). They have received numerous awards, including the Bell Canada Award for excellence in video art (1993), a Toronto Arts Award (1993) and a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2005).

www.steeleandtomczak.com/