MCA Sydney

MCA NORTH, The Rocks, 140 George Street

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press release

JEFF WALL Photographs (1 May–28 July 2013) is the first Australian survey of works by Canadian photographer Jeff Wall.

The exhibition features 27 works produced between 1978 and 2010, ranging from illuminated colour transparencies in light boxes, black and white prints, and colour prints to intimate small-scale photographic observations.

Highlights include one of the artist's early works, The Destroyed Room (1978), that refers directly to an old master painting titled The Death of Sardanapalus (1827) by Eugène Delacroix. Wall echoes Delacroix's sweeping composition and sumptuous palette of blood reds, while acknowledging the work's staged atmosphere by re-composing the scene as a roughly fabricated stage-set, absent of any players.

Other highlights include A sudden gust of wind (after Hokusai) (1993), based on a woodcut from a famous portfolio; The Thirty-six Views of Fuji, by the Japanese painter and printmaker Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849); After 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue (1999–2000) and some of Wall's more recent works, such as Knife throw (2008) and Boy falls from tree (2010).

Wall's photographs are based on first-hand observations of everyday situations and incidents recalled, often reconstructed by means of what the artist calls a 'cinematographic approach' rather than the decisive moment of straight photography.

MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said: 'Wall's photographs have rewritten nearly every convention of photography and have played a crucial role in establishing photography as the major contemporary art form it is today. We look forward to seeing these powerful works in our new galleries.'

JEFF WALL Photographs is organised by the Art Gallery of Western Australia in association with the MCA.

Jeff Wall