Art Facts: taking the move out of movies | Calendar | Chicago Reader

Art Facts: taking the move out of movies 

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"Cinematography doesn't have to result in a motion picture," says Vancouver artist Jeff Wall. "I like the idea of using the process of cinematography, but motion pictures are only one of the possible outcomes of that process."

Wall produces huge color transparencies that he mounts on aluminum light boxes. His images include mundane landscapes, tense vignettes of life in the suburbs, and a few spectacularly grotesque vistas.

Dead Troops Talk: A Vision After an Ambush of a Red Army Patrol Near Mogor, Afghanistan, Winter 1986 shows wounded Soviet troops lying on a rocky set that's strewn with debris. Despite their deathly pallor and spilled guts, some of them are smiling.

Wall's The Vampires' Picnic brings the living dead theme closer to home, depicting bloodsucking suburbanites partying at night next to a sewer construction site in a forest that's no longer virginal.

As indebted as Wall is to movie craft for actors, makeup, costumes, and set design, he favors still images. "In my opinion there's too much movement in films," he says.

The enigmatic quality of the images is enhanced by the flourescent backlighting. Wall says, "There's a basic fascination in technology that derives from the fact that there's always a hidden space--a control room, a projection booth, a source of light of some kind--from which the image comes."

Jeff Wall's transparencies can be seen through August 20 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 237 E. Ontario. Curator Richard Francis will talk about Wall's work next Saturday, July 8, at 2 PM. For more info call 280-2660.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/courtesy of Museum of Contemporary Art.

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