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Michael Newman in his essay, “Towards the Reinvigoration of the ‘Western Tableau’: Some Notes on Jeff Wall and Duchamp (2007)”, asserts that Marcel Duchamp’s works have a significant impact on Jeff Wall’s large-scale cinematographic lightbox transparencies. By contrast, Wall’s works are frequently considered to refer to his engagement with Manet, particularly A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882).
Wall saw Duchamp’s posthumous installation work Etant donnés (1946) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the winter of 1973. While there, he also saw the Manual of Instructions that Duchamp provided for the work’s installation, which included photographs indicating the way in which a set could be constructed for a particular view. The Etant donnés and the Manual of Instructions, as well as to a great reference, The Death of Sardanapalus (1827) are remarkably considered to impact The Destroyed Room (1978), the work that Wall believes his first cinematographic photograph. Since Duchamp’s works are usually considered to be an important source of Conceptual art, for Wall he provides the model for ‘constructing a picture or tableau that will prompt in the viewer a spectatorship that is both engaged – to the point of embarrassment indeed – and reflective, much like the attitude of the theatre audience proposed by Brecht’. Duchamp’s works also make Wall exit Conceptualism and develop his now familiar tableau transparencies in the late 1970s. Because of this, Wall appears apart from other artists such as Richard Prince and Sherrie Levine during the late 1970s and early 1980s. They returned to the image through the reproduced photograph as a Duchampian readymade. Other references to Duchamp in Wall’s work are discussed, such as Double Self-Portrait (1992), with a particular emphasis on effects of doubling. In the end, through the discussion of Wall’s formative works between 1977 and 1980, the author addressed a question that whether the reflexive and negating manner gained from Duchamp survives in the statement of photography as a medium in Wall’s works after 1990. 

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