Jeff Wall - Diagonal Composition, 1993. Transparency in lightbox
What interested me … was to make pictures that had specific relationships with certain kinds of painting … certain kinds of cinema … and certain kinds of photography … and to find a way of hybridising all that I admired about all those things … I thought, for my purposes, that painting needed to be more psychologically intense, cinema needed to be ‘arrested’ (according to the concepts from Barthes and Benjamin), and photography needed to be made more viable at the scale of the human body, the scale of natural vision, a scale that painting had mastered.
Jeff Wall - A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai), 1993. Silver dye bleach transparency; aluminium light box
When I was making A Sudden Gust of Wind I knew I wanted to show how the air could carry the papers. Hokusai had already solved some of these problems. If you analyse his composition, you realise that many of the little pieces of paper coincided with very important points of the rectangle. He composed something that had a feel of the accidental. It was not accidental, but he knew how to make it look that way. I thought that the only way to achieve that was to first create chance situations, to create a lot of movement and then just have a lot of materials to edit. So we created a way a lot of paper could be moved in the air and then tried to think of both the rectangle and the invisible air current in three dimensions. As the papers move in depth, they move away from us and get smaller. I just worked hard on it and tried to compose. There is no guide, its just a feeling, a sense of real, how things are really are or would be .