September 21 – December 1, 2019

… before I wake (2000–12) is a video triptych from Steele and Tomczak comprised of Entranced (2012), Practicing Death (2003), and We’re Getting Younger All the Time (2001). Produced over a twelve-year period, and mostly shot in the context of their domestic dwelling, these works are a meditation on the body, aging, relationships, and the nature of the artists’ collaboration as partners in life and art. Each film confronts the mortal conditions of existence: that life is limited and will invariably end; that the body ages and gradually deteriorates; and that the creative relationship between the artists could end with one partner outliving the other. The first chapter of the trilogy, We’re Getting Younger All the Time, was made in 2000; Practicing Death followed three years later. It took another seven years before the final chapter, Entranced, was developed and produced.


Lisa Steele (born in 1947, Kansas City, USA; lives in Toronto, Canada) and Kim Tomczak (born in 1952, Victoria, Canada; lives in Toronto, Canada) have worked collaboratively exclusively since 1983, producing videotapes, performances and photo/text works. They have received numerous grants and awards both individually and collaboratively, the latter case including the Bell Canada Award for excellence in video art, a Toronto Arts Award, and in 2005, a Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. They were awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, in 2009.

Learn more about Lisa Steele and Kim Tomczak’s practice by listening to episode 7 of the Toronto Biennial of Art Podcast “Short Format”, available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.

Exhibition Site

259 Lake Shore Blvd East

The life of this nondescript building reveals the area’s economic history. Its first tenant in 1945, the Standard Chemical Company, produced methanol, formaldehyde, and charcoal. A railway line to the south tethered the site to the movement of goods. By 1954, the building was divided into a warehouse and a showroom, a configuration that remained intact over the course of various leaseholders, including oil and electrical supply companies and a series of car dealerships. (The advertising of its most recent tenant, Volvo, is still visible on the façade.) This building’s fate is indeterminate, as real estate development is increasingly filling the voids left by industrial decline.

259 Lake Shore Blvd East
Toronto ON
M5A 3T7