toronto

Ian Wallace

The Power Plant

This exhibition featured 11 works dating from 1970 to 1987. Its 18-year span coincided with the studied breakdown of “object” art by conceptualism and post-conceptualism. Ian Wallace’s photography-based work has been an important manifestation of post-Pop documentarism, yet it also outlines a conceptualist revisionism that underscores a significant shift in the tone and practice of photographic work.

Early pieces such as Pan-Am Scan, 1970, and La mélancolie de la rue, 1973, have a gritty, documentary feel; they recall the unabashed enthusiasm with which photography was taken up by artists looking for a responsible way out of painting in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Photography seemed an alternative that eschewed internalized, expressive subjects in favor of in situ schematizing; that was part of what made it and cinema so exciting to intellectuals of the time. Camera-based work spoke for

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