Sunday, 11 December 2011

Jeff Wall

Verdict: Give it a miss
Where: White Cube gallery, Mayfair
When: 23 November 20117 January 2012

What is it?  The exhibit is split into two parts.  Upstairs are photographs of Sicily from an older exhibit and downstairs are the newer photographs designed to capture particularly poignant moments from everyday life.

My opinion:  Firstly, as I’m sure I’ve said before the White Cube galleries are two of my favourites (I’m yet to visit the new one in Bermondsey) but the Mason’s Yard one is the best for it’s visual impact.  You are just off Regent Street, surrounded by imposing grade listed buildings when you spot a turn-off along a covered cobbled path leading into a secluded square.  And then it hits you, a giant white cube that isn’t visible from the street and the minimalist contemporary design is a terrific contrast to its environs. 

But on to the exhibit itself.   The ground floor displays some photographs of Sicily that are trying to capture different aspects of the island but pale in comparison to the Sicilia il Viaggio photographs I reviewed last month.

As you move downstairs you get the impression that there may be something more imaginative down here.  There are scenes meant to capture moments of spontaneity but seem so staged that they lose their poignancy like two boys boxing in a living room or capturing the moment a boy falls out of a tree.   It’s the most realistic photos that do impress; a photo of a rock paint covered in body paint performing to a sparsely populated crowd that are mostly disinterested reminds me of gigs I’ve attended featuring artists  trying to make it big.  The fervour of the band’s performance is a brilliant contrast to the crowd’s apathy; but this was the only standout piece for me.

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