WallI’s giantess woman perhaps an echo of her longlost matriarchy gazes at a scrap of paper in one raised hand with the air of a seasoned librarian like a godlike idealization of the educational quest pursued by the students all around a quest that ultimately fails will save them from the ravages that time brings to the flesh. For another photograph with the striking title Adrian Walker artist painting a specimen in a laboratory of the University of British Columbia Anatomy Department in Vancouver the columnist notes Walker contemplates in a clinical setting the mutilated arm of a corpse. Both the observer and the subject are detached in their own way.
Here the so often noted disjuncture in Walker’s work e-commerce photo editing between images that correspond to Michael Fried’s viewerfacing theatrical mode and images that suit his own introspective and absorbing method is brought to its philosophical climax. The paradigmatically absorbing photograph—an image of photographic production itself—is actually a study of impossibility disturbance in the antiseptic environment depicted here we can analyze and record it but not transcend it. The drawing hand will inevitably become like the hand being drawn whose position it is already imitating. Alone with his chin in his hand the thoughtful artist faced the definitive denial of all human pursuits including art.
The entire article moves in a similar style and argumentation. In fact Jeff Wall himself often parallels his photographs with specific paintings by Velasquez Delacroix Brueghel Caravaggio Manet etc. In the other the French magazine a good French theorist Regis Durand comments on one of the most indifferent photographs of an excellent young German photographer Thomas Struth resorting to the method of simple description in a way of tautology with the image We are in front of a very large painting of dimensions similar to those of the great old painters.