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Jeff Wall

January 11, 2003 - April 13, 2003

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The Hammer Museum presents a group of new works by the internationally acclaimed Canadian artist Jeff Wall. Wall’s work of the past twenty-five years consists primarily of large-scale, color transparencies mounted in lightboxes, and, since 1995, black and white photographs. His pictures resemble both paintings and film stills, drawing the viewer into highly specific scenes that imply larger narratives.

 

First shown at Documenta 11, After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Preface, 1999-2001, represents a well-known scene from Ellison’s classic novel. Wall’s version shows us the cellar room, “warm and full of light” in which Ellison’s narrator lives, complete with its 1,369 lightbulbs. Energy and light, stolen from the electric company, illuminate not only the character’s basement dwelling, but also the truth of his existence. He tells us, “Light confirms my reality, gives birth to my form…. Without light I am not only invisible but formless as well; and to be unaware of one’s form is to live a death…. The truth is the light and light is the truth.”

 

This large work is accompanied by a selection of smaller pictures without figures, including Rainfilled Suitcase, 2001. These pictures, which are straight photographs, complement the “cinematography” of the larger piece, and give a sense of the different aspects of Wall’s work.

About the Exhibition

Jeff Wall’s work of the past twenty-five years consists primarily of large-scale color transparencies mounted in light boxes and, since 1995, black-and-white photographs. His pictures resemble both paintings and film stills, drawing the viewer into highly specific scenes that imply larger narratives. More

This exhibition was organized by Russell Ferguson, chief curator.

 

Hammer Projects are made possible with support from The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Annenberg Foundation, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and members of the Hammer Circle.

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