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Jeff Wall Actuality

April 14, 2013

I was surprised and happy to hear about the Jeff Wall exhibition in Milan, the first one in Italy. Curated by former curator of the Art Biennale of Venice Francesco Bonami and strongly supported by Culture Deputy Mayor of Milan Stefano Boeri, the exhibition is an extraordinary event on the not really exciting Italian art landscape, but this is not interesting. Let’s concentrate on the pictures and on the exhibition as such.

Dictionary says actuality is about reality in time, is about true existence, conditions, circumstances and state if fact. A suitable title for any exhibition of Jeff Wall pictures, but what is the actual meaning of actuality in Milan’s PAC now? What was it supposed to be?

Jeff Wall, Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe  Foundation, Barcelona, 1999, lightbox, 187 x 351 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Wall, Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona, 1999, lightbox, 187 x 351 cm, Courtesy of the artist

My feeling about the exhibition is twofold. On one side exhibits are first class: a good mix of classic “lightboxes”, some small series of compositions and even some outsider site specific works, with Italian background. Good choice.

Staying in front of Morning cleaningMimicIn front of a nightclubInsomnia is always a great privilege.

Jeff Wall, Mimic, 1982, lightbox, 198 x 228.5 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Wall, Mimic, 1982, lightbox, 198 x 228.5 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Discovering some other masterpieces for the first time, like Young man wet in rain is  exciting.

Jeff Wall, Young man wet with rain, 2011, silver gelatin print, 147 x 263 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Wall, Young man wet with rain, 2011, silver gelatin print, 147 x 263 cm, Courtesy of the artist

The small series and detail pictures are a mindful change of rhythm.

Jeff Wall, Clipped Branches, E. Cordova  st., Vancouver, 1999, lightbox, 71.8 x 89 cm, Courtesyof the artist

Jeff Wall, Clipped Branches, E. Cordova st., Vancouver, 1999, lightbox, 71.8 x 89 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Wall, After 'Spring Snow', by Yukio Mishima, chapter 34, 2000-2005, fotografia a colori, 57.5 x 74 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Wall, After ‘Spring Snow’, by Yukio Mishima, chapter 34, 2000-2005, colour photography, 57.5 x 74 cm, Courtesy of the artist

The few pictures of women in nineteenth-century clothing extend the range of the intended actuality into the upper class. These women  are carefully immersed in their world, like in a fishbowl. Or are we in a fishbowl looking at them outside and unable to listen what they say?

Jeff Wall, A woman consulting a catalogue, 2005, lightbox 148 x 116.6 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Wall, A woman consulting a catalogue, 2005, lightbox 148 x 116.6 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Wall, Vancouver, 7 Dec. 2009. Ivan Sayers, costume historian, lectures at the University Women's Club. VirginiaNewton-Moss wears a British ensemble c. 1910, from Sayers' collection, 2009, fotografia a colori, 224.3 x 182.5 cm, Courtesy of the artist

Jeff Wall, Vancouver, 7 Dec. 2009. Ivan Sayers, costume historian, lectures at the University Women’s Club. Virginia Newton-Moss wears a British ensemble c. 1910, from Sayers’ collection, 2009, colour photography, 224.3 x 182.5 cm, Courtesy of the artist

These is the kind of thoughts I have as visitor. Reading the inspired texts by Bonami and Boeri I get more information and motivation.

On the other side around the pictures the exhibition at PAC provides a wasteland, a screaming silence, a pneumatic vacuum which can be subject to different interpretations as well.

JeffWall Actuality PAC Milano (1)

Is it the due distance to enjoy the large format lightboxes and let them be in dialogue with each other and the visitor?

JeffWall Actuality PAC Milano (4)

It is that at lunch break during the furniture fair, when all the design showrooms and municipal museums are open for free, nobody wants to go to see Jeff Wall’s pictures?

JeffWall Actuality PAC Milano (6)

Am I the only idiot being inside a gallery and not enjoying the first sun of a long awaited spring? As I showed in another visit the park in front of PAC is one of its nicest features.

JeffWall Actuality PAC Milano (3)

Actually I don’t miss any more visitors, but I just miss any kind of exhibition design, any dialogue between the beautiful pictures and the beautiful architecture which contains them.

JeffWall Actuality PAC Milano (5)

Going to the exhibition I was wondering why Jeff Wall cancelled his announced participation to the opening on the 19th of March. Now I wonder if he might have been disappointed about the way pictures were just hanging on the wall. Like this.

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Apertura

dal 19 marzo al 9 giugno 2013

Orari

lunedì: 14.30 – 19.30
martedì, mercoledì, venerdì, sabato e domenica 09.30 – 19.30
giovedì 09.30 – 22.30
* ultimo ingresso un’ora prima della chiusura

Orari Festività

31 marzo e 1 aprile (Pasqua e Pasquetta) 09.30 – 19.30
25 aprile 09.30 – 22.30
1 maggio 09.30 – 19.30
2 giugno 09.30 – 22.30

More info on the official exhibition website www.jeffwallmilano.it

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