vancouver

Ian Wallace, At Work 1983, electrostatic and dye-coupler print, 8 x 10". From the series “At
Work,” 1983–.

Ian Wallace

Vancouver Art Gallery

Ian Wallace, At Work 1983, electrostatic and dye-coupler print, 8 x 10". From the series “At
Work,” 1983–.

FOR TWO WEEKS IN APRIL 1983, Ian Wallace sat at a desk reading Kierkegaard’s On the Concept of Irony at Vancouver’s Or Gallery from midnight until 1 AM. The front door was locked, but Wallace was visible through the storefront window to occasional passersby. The performance, At Work 1983, also resulted in a film (later transferred to video), a backlit transparency, photographs, and prints. In 2008, Wallace restaged the performance, again transforming a gallery—this time Catriona Jeffries—into a kind of ersatz studio, with the change documented in four of his signature diptych canvases and a digital video. This elaboration of the artist as reader, researcher, intellectual—and ultimately, as image—epitomizes Wallace’s decades-long exploration of artistic process, which is both ironic demystification and earnest examination. These two iterations of At Work shifted

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