indefinable quality of the subject is how to somehow elude the hardness of that specificity. Maybe elude is the wrong word, because you can’t elude it. Maybe it is more to enter into the indefinability of anything, no matter how concretely it appears to have been portrayed. At the moment, I feel like that’s the direction I’m going in, as I’ve said – to pictures that have subjects and yet aren’t that attached to their subjects. The subject is interesting, but it doesn’t carry the whole thing, at all. I think a lot of that comes from me being very interested in Cézanne for a long time. I’ve been struggling between Cézanne and Manet, in the way of models in painting, and they’re very, very different artists, both great, both of them perfect models for something, but both going in different directions. In Cézanne, it’s about what I’ve just been talking about, and with Manet it’s that too, but there is also the increased emphasis on the literary web of what that act of portrayal might mean. Manet moves toward that, Cézanne against it. Those two modes are so rich that you have to stay in a state of indecision in relationship to them. I know that seems to mean that my photography is modelled on painting. But it doesn’t. It just shows that there is a relationship between the goodness of certain achievements in painting and those of certain photographs, not necessarily mine. • foam magazine # 26 happy
Jeff Wall (1946, Canada) is renowned for his large-format backlit photographs with subject matter ranging from mundane corners of urban life to elaborate tableaux. His single pictures seem to depict an instant or a scenario of the before-and-after of a photographed moment left completely unknown open to multiple interpretations. BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, opens the exhibition Jeff Wall – The Crooked Path in May, curated by Joël Benzakin and Jeff Wall presenting 25 selected works taken by Wall between the 1970s and the present day and combined with work of many other artists who have affected him over the years. Other solo shows include Whitechapel Gallery, London (2001); Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany (2001); Hasselblad Center, Göteborg, (2002); Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo (2004) and retrospectives at Schaulager, Basel (2005); Tate Modern, London (2005); MoMA, New York (2007); the Chicago Art Institute (2007) and SFMoMA, San Francisco (2008) with another planned for the re-opened Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Stephen Waddell (1968, Canada) initially took up photography as a sketching tool in preparation for his paintings, and by the late 1990s began to focus on photography. Based in Vancouver, Stephen Waddell’s recent exhibitions include: Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Landesmuseum Darmstadt, Germany; Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló in Spain and MUHKA, Antwerp, Belgium. He won the prestigious Liliane Bettencourt Prix de la Photographie in 2010. A forthcoming overview of his photography, entitled Hunt and Gather, is being published by Steidl Publishing, Germany. Waddell is represented by Monte Clark Gallery/Clark and Faria, Vancouver/Toronto and Galerie Tanit, Munich. Aaron Peck (1979, Canada) is the author of The Bewilderments of Bernard Willis (2008) and, in collaboration with artists Adam Harrison and Dominic Osterried, Letters to the Pacific. His art writing has appeared in artforum.com, Art Papers, Canadian Art, Fillip and Matador. He also has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues in Canada. He lives in Vancouver, where he teaches at Emily Carr University.