artist / participant
Doug Hall’s most recent series of large-scale photographs encourage us to reconsider familiar places and address how our perceptions are framed and defined by the spaces we occupy. Whether the sites were chosen based on the grandness of their landscape or architecture, or on their social and symbolic significance, Hall’s detailed and color-saturated panoramas show us how these public spaces circumscribe human activity.
From Times Square to Yosemite National Park, or from the Eiffel Tower to Wall Street, both denizens and visitors are choreographed and corralled. They are encouraged to encounter their surroundings and behold the spectacle before them from specific, pre-ordained vantage points. Hall emphasizes “the role that institutions play in constructing our experiences of the world and of ourselves in it”. By photographing over the years what he refers to as the “World Stage”, Hall demonstrates how we are participants in a grand theater that seeks to direct our understanding of the world.
Hall’s photographs are a continuation of the very staging they depict. Many photographs are constructed out of multiple images of a location, often taken over several hours. Elements from the negatives are then pieced back together to form one coherent image. Therefore, while the photographs appear to document a single moment in time, this instantaneousness is an illusion, as the photographs are actually composed from a composite of many such moments.
Doug Hall’s photographs remind us of how hierarchies are embedded in the world and how the physical and cultural constructs that we often take for granted have power over us, perhaps until we take a closer and longer look.
Hall has concentrated on large-scale photography since the late 1980’s. He is internationally regarded for his media and performance collaborations with the group known as Ant Farm in the 1970’s, as well as his pioneer and influential work in video and video installation. He has significantly contributed to the development of new art forms now commonplace and helped define an era of art making and cultural critique.
Doug Hall was featured in the 2002 Bienal de São Paulo and is represented in the collections of numerous museums including: Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Kunsthaus, Zürich; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Vienna; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.