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Fantastic Picture: Jeff Wall's Art of Hesitation
|Abstract:||加拿大攝影師Jeff Wall (1946-)以具敘事性，遊走於寫實與奇幻之間的大型燈箱攝影作品聞名於當代。修習藝術史出生的攝影家，早期的作品多挪用十九世紀浪漫主義Delacroix或是印象派畫家馬內畫作，攝影的特徵與敘事畫的傳統交融於The Destroyed Room, Picture for Woman等作品中。採用cinematography以及數位技術的幫助，Jeff Wall之後的作品主要可以分為兩類，一是具奇幻性質，照片呈現的故事內容古怪並脫離現實感；另一範疇則被藝術家稱為「近紀實攝影」（near documentary），畫面上看似街頭快照（snapshot）的場景，其實為編排後的結果。然而，不論具奇幻感或近紀實的攝影作品，皆未能全然定調於寫實抑超現實，藝術家的攝影畫面徘徊於紀實與劇畫攝影間。
Jeff Wall同時被視為出現於80年代的大型畫型攝影（tableau photography）潮流中的一份子，而畫型攝影主要的特徵是將所有敘事元素集合在單一畫面上。攝影敘事(storytelling)的特徵，加上藝術家改編文學作品成攝影作品的偏好，讓攝影與文學兩種不同的藝術領域，在Jeff Wall的作品裡共享相似性。因此，本篇論文嘗試以Todorv對於奇幻性（the fantastic）的定義以及結構上的分析，描述Jeff Wall作品裡游移於寫實與超現實、紀實攝影與虛構間的曖昧性。在第一章Jeff Wall: a Fantastic Approach to Photography裡，從Todorov對the fantastic在文學作品中的定義：「書中人物與讀者猶疑於所經歷為現實或超現實與否」，並強調the fantastic的精髓在於「猶疑」。Jeff Wall的作品和Todorov所描述閱讀奇幻小說的經驗相當類似，此外，文學作品裡塑造奇幻的方式也和Jeff Wall引起曖昧性的進路不謀而合。
第二章The Spectre of Everyday探討Jeff Wall作品的鬼魅。儘管鬼魅在攝影寫實的特質下多被視為無稽之談，然而在攝影起始之時，由於對新機械的知識缺乏，大眾多相信攝影機械如魔術般可以捕捉鬼魅，讓靈異照片(spiritphotography)在當時廣為流傳，使攝影在寫真、科學之外，開啟了虛構操弄、超自然的縫隙。而上述的鬼魅風潮，在劇畫攝影盛行的80年代再度復興。Jeff Wall不斷地在他的作品中展現攝影奇幻的一面，從分身到吸血鬼、活屍等不同介於生與死、生命(animated)與無生命(inanimated)之間的鬼魅主題，以現代的形象延展攝影藝術的奇幻性與新可能。
第三章Double Face of Photography進一步延伸Jeff Wall攝影作品裡的曖昧性至其中索引(the indexicality)與虛構的關係。除了重新檢視Rosalind Krauss的Notes one Index一文，並試著透過Andre Bazin, Roland Barthes與Laura Mulvey等人對於索引的詮釋，來釐清索引在當代攝影藝術的發展下是否仍為攝影唯一的本質，或者索引正歷經曖昧的變形(metamorphosis) 過程：索引從過去現實生活下的印記，轉變為攝影中虛構敘事的情節元素、誘發詭奇(uncanny)的反應，或成為指向未來、未知事件的索引。|
Canadian photographer Jeff Wall is renowned for his large-scale light box narrative photography works, wherein the contents often oscillate between the realistic and supernatural. Having begun his career as a professor and writer of art history, Wall’s early works are dialogues to nineteenth century Romanticist painting. Combining digital technique and his characteristic cinematography, Jeff Wall’s later photography works can be viewed in two broader senses: one with anartifice style which is made obvious by the fantastic nature of his stories, and the other under the framework of “near documentary,” coined by the artist himself, wherein the scene appears in the form of snapshots but has in fact been staged previously. Nonetheless, Jeff Wall’s photography works oscillate between documentary and staged photography, and cannot be fully identified in the respective realms of realism or the supernatural. Jeff Wall is also regarded as one of the leading practitioners of “tableau photography.” One of the main traits of tableau photography is that the photographic narrative is loaded into a single frame. The tendency of storytelling and Wall’s preference to adapt literary works into photographic works further instigate the affinity between photography and literature. Therefore, this study tries to describe the ambience of Jeff Wall’s photography – the instability between the real and supernatural, documentary and fictional photography – through Tzvetan Todorov’s analysis of the fantastic. This study may be considered as three different approaches to understanding the ambiguity of Jeff Wall’s art. In the first chapter: Jeff Wall: A Fantastic Approach to Photography, Jeff Wall’s ambiguous photography is described as the fantastic. The mysterious reality shown in Wall’s pictures has a close affinity with fantastic tales, therefore, Tzvetan Todorov’s theory of the fantastic is applied to aid our understanding of Wall’s photography. Moreover, this affinity brings us to further perceive the close relationship between photography and literature, which has survived a long history since the invention of photography and is consequently crystallized in Jeff Wall’s works. Chapter two is the Spectre of Everyday. Photography has been intertwined with the theme of ghosts since the advent of photography. The idea of spirit photography and that camera can capture spirits was pervasive in the late nineteenth century. However, the sensation of the uncanny has not faded in the modern world, but on the contrary, has only increased in the works of contemporary artists. Wall constantly demonstrates the fantastic side of photography. Through various spooky topics such as the double, vampires, and living dead – the spectra in a state between life and death, animated and the inanimated, Jeff Wall evokes the uncanny and new possibilities in photography. In chapter three The Double Face of Photography, the discussion of the fantastic is expanded in the pursuit of assessing Jeff Wall’s photography as index or fiction. This inquiry leads us to a larger question: is photography an index or is it something more? This chapter, therefore, focuses at length on the photographic indexicality raised by Rosalind Krauss, in her article, “Notes on Index.(1977)” But contrary to her conviction that index and the accompanied truth claim is the sole essence of photography, I propose that the index is experiencing a metamorphosis. This metamorphosis results from the rise of new art photography, as the artist’s practices alters the index to take on different statuses, the index thus becomes fictional one, arousing the sense of the uncanny, and even points to the future instead of the past. This in turn affords photography its double faces, whereupon the polarities continuously overlap and influence each other.
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