Hotels, Carrall St., Vancouver, summer 2005
About This Artwork
Describing his work as “near documentary,” Jeff Wall often stages elements of his photographs. Displayed in a light box, Hotels, Carrall St., Vancouver, summer 2005 appears disarmingly simple. Cumulative details, however, reveal moments of strange resonance. A sign with a construction company’s name, Darwin, recalls the theory of evolution. A recycling logo reads “full circle,” as if the makeshift trash shoot in the center of the photograph is completing a cycle, returning to a beginning. The idea of transformation is even more present looking at the hotels. Wall took the photograph the year that renovations began on the historic Pennsylvania Hotel, formerly the Woods Hotel built in 1906. The construction project restored the dilapidated structure, generating low-income housing on one of Vancouver’s oldest streets in the early stages of revitalization. Here, Wall astutely captures a society constantly under construction and never quite realized, both aspirational and improvised.