Jeff Wall on the Crooked Path
I had few occasion to see works of Jeff Wall, but I always found his lightboxes both intriguing and familiar. The first feeling reflects the unexpected depth of these pictures, which become almost 3-dimensional. The second is about the ordinary subject of the pictures, but what is actually ordinary? On the basis of these uncertain and to some extend opposite feelings I decided to visit the exhibition at the Bozar in Brussels, despite the little time and nice weather outside.The exhibition starts slowly with a few large format lightboxes in large spaces: the kind of exhibits the Canadian artist is well-known for. Proceeding along the visit works of art by other artists starts to interact and interfere with the pictures, giving them even more depth and complexity that the visual one. The audio guide is very useful to understand how Jeff Wall and curator Joël Benzakin have worked together to provide the visitor with a comprehensive experience of the artist’s vision. The list of artists and artworks included in the exhibition as references to the works fo Jeff Wall is impressive (including a.o. Marcel Duchamp, Diane Arbus, Eugène Atget, Walker Evans, Frank Stella, Dan Flavin, Dan Graham, Carl Andre, Thomas Struth, David Claerbout and Andreas Gurski) and bring the conceptual references into art history and real life of their actors.
Jeff Wall’s photography has the suspense of movies, the depth of paintings, the ability to capture reality of photography, the ambition of open your mind of conceptual art. It is an open door to whatever you like to feel and discover. Furthermore – as an architect – I appreciate the well balanced composition of shapes, light and movement, the careful choice of materials and treatment of surfaces, the sharp view at people’s everyday practises in space. Unveiling the extraordinary and unsaid of carrying a trolley on an overpass, bringing a tray covered by a towel, falling from a tree, walking on a crooked path, standing in front of a nightclub is the extraordinary skill of Jeff Wall’s world of art.
Curator: Joël Benzakin
Scientific advisor and publication editor in chief: Hans Maria De Wolf
Friday 27.05 > Sunday 11.09.2011
Bozar Centre for Fine Arts
Rue Ravensteinstraat 23 1000 Brussels