Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Boxing on

Just as mounting images onto sheet aluminium, the lightbox has become a basic tool for art photographers. Amongst the first to use this display technique (a back-lit transparency in a fluorescent light box) was Canadian Jeff Wall who first used a lightbox to display his 1978 work The Destroyed Room in a shop window. It was part of a movement, of which Wall was a central figure, to create photographic works that would “be more akin to paintings” in scale. In some ways the lightbox has become something of a cliché, a thought that was obviously in Michael Parekowhai’s mind, when he backgrounded his sculptured piano The Story of a New Zealand River with an lightbox displaying a photograph of an outdoor panorama. Over the last few days in Wellington, a set of lightbox photographs have been unwrapped in the new Coutenay Place Park. As you can see, before the transparencies were added what we had was more like a Donald Judd installation. Now it's been revealed as photography, this time dressed up not so much as painting as sculpture.
Images: Top, before and bottom, after