Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jeff & the Wall(s) in our heads

It's like with (some) paintings. How often did you hear someone - or yourself :) saying something like this: “Sure, my two-year-old could do better than that.”? *

End of the beforegoing.

Apart from being ... well ... large-sized, Jeff Wall's photographs - are interesting.
Let's take for example

On first sight it looks easily done, like a snapshot, but ...

What I like about Jeff Wall: He does not wish to transport a mission, he does not even intend to tell a story (at least he says so); he leaves all to the viewer / contemplator.
It is as if a reader writes the story, each reader his own.

Huh, however: two or more years preparation for one photograph - that's a bit ...

... but who am I to complete my thought(s)?

Am I not a bit ..., myself?

Aren't we all?

Or, at least, most of us?

What do you think?

* With pleasure I do once again commend to read A Doubtful Egg's post about Them Bleedin' Artists ...
Take your time, contemplate, reflect and ... leave him your opinion.

** There is quite a lot to discover in Tate's Gallery and Moma.


  1. I looked at the Tate site and there was quite a range. Some are superb. I love the one based on Invisible Man (one of my favourite novels) but a lot of them are nothing special.

    The insomnia photo is good though!

  2. Thanks for introducing me to Jeff Walls, Sean. Like Jams I have mixed feelings about his photographs. Some I find ordinary or overbaked; others are very interesting, and impossible to avoid gazing at (and into, and around) for a while.

  3. Jams, Stan,
    glad I am not the only one feeling a bit mixed and puzzled, mostly about this:
    When not intending to transport a mission, why would one sacrifice two or more years of one's life for but one photograph?
    L'art pour l'art?
    Anyway, an interesting personality, and not unappealing.

  4. You're right, Sean. There's a lot to discover in those two galleries (Tate/Moma). Those scenes are not just photos. They are collages of two or three different dramas in one frame. I'm glad that Jeff Wall explains what it's all about, or I would miss most of it. It's great to tour an exhibition on a screen where you can enlarge and zoom in each area at leisure. I could never see an artwork that well in a real gallery, even if it was huge.

    Most of the photos are complicated and crowded. The "dead soldiers' picture" is horrifying, with a ghastly touch of humour. Not something I would put on my wall. It reminded me of "La Danse Macabre de Saint-Saëns."

    Interesting artist. Quite different. Ingenuous technique. No pretty sceneries. But the guy has no hidden agenda. He's not preaching, or analysing. He's just, very honestly, showing us some sort of a gray world, with not many happy people in it, or things of beauty. Parts of his world are even a bit frightening. I haven't seen it all in details yet. I can take it little by little, not all at once. It's OK, but a bit depressing.

    Well...Edvard Munch didn't cheer me up either. Yet, I visited him...

    What's next, Sean? Emerson said, "Earth laughs in flowers."