Wall versus Hokusai

ARTIST: Jeff Wall
TITLE: A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai)
YEAR: 1993
MEDIUM: Transparency in lightbox (2290 x 3770 mm)


"This work is one of Wall's earliest digital montages. It refers directly to a woodblock print by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai. Wall transposes the nineteenth-century Japanese scene to a contemporary cranberry farm near Vancouver. Amateur actors play the odd assortment of rural and city characters, surprised by the forces of nature. It required over 100 photographs, taken over the course of more than a year, to achieve a seamless montage that gives the illusion of capturing a real moment in time." (source: tate.org.uk)
ARTIST: Katsushika Hokusai
TITLE: 'Ejiri in Suruga Province' (Sunshū Ejiri), From the series ‘Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji' (Fugaku sanjū-rokkei)
YEAR:1830-1833
MEDIUM: colour woodblock print

Ejiri was a post-station on the Tōkaidō Highway on the west side of Suruga Bay, near modern Shimizu City. This was close to the famous beauty spot of Miho-no-Matsubara. This view depicts a much more prosaic location, a path that snakes through a marsh.

The silhouette of Mt Fuji is drawn with a single line, providing a backdrop for the figures and trees battling the wind in the foreground. Bending their bodies and clutching at scarves and hats, all turn their faces away from us - as if we were the source of the blast that carries off the tissues that had been tucked into the woman's kimono. The tissues flit skyward, accompanied by dancing leaves and an escaped hat. The porter who has lost his hat gesticulates in surprise, a circle of padding left forlorn on his head.

source: T. Clark, 100 views of Mount Fuji (London, The British Museum Press, 2001)