Saturday, October 26, 2013

Or Sew It(s) Seams

Jeff Wall is a contemporary of Christos Dikeakos. However, whereas Dikeakos has staked out Vancouver's inner-city (False Creek), Wall is more interested in its urban/suburban edge, where violence is not what happens when gangs clash, but when developers see market housing opportunities where ducks once laid eggs.

Writing in Ken Lum's 1990 Witte de With/Winnipeg Art Gallery catalogue, Wall had this to say about Vancouver art and artists:

In Vancouver, a "warm" environmentalism set the tone from about 1970 in the work of Liz Magor, Tom Burrows and Marian Penner Bancroft, and was carried on through the 80s by artists like Joey Morgan and Jerry Pethick. This work expressed what was seen as the specificity and essential quality of the local culture, its closeness to nature and its concern for organic life rather than the hostility to nature and the need to dominate it which drives the resource economy of B.C.

Wall's fascination with the urban/suburban edge, as content, finds its formal equivalent in his own "warm" form of composition: montage. In the March, 2001 issue of Artforum, Wall discusses his cinematographic method (bringing together multiple shots to form a single "unifying" event) in relation to The Flooded Grave (1998-2000), at one point stating: "If you could tell [where the seams are], I would have failed."

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