|Invisible Man by Jeff Wall
Wednesday 6 June 2012
Day 432: Perth Chinese Consulate again and Gallery of Western Australia
Armed with a flight booking we didn't want into Beijing and a reservation at Beijing airport hotel we didn't want either, we strolled back into the Chinese consulate at 10 am and got our applications accepted. The one tiny fly in the ointment is that they will only give me a double entry, not the multiple entry I would need to take the Trans-Monglian back across Russia. I could apply for another visa later, but I'm currently thinking of going through Vladivostok instead.
Now we had succeeded with that, we were free to enjoy Perth, except that it is pouring with rain. So we went to the Gallery of Western Australia, where Antonia drew still lives and Mike went on a talk about the photography of Jeff Wall. I liked his work okay, but the only one I thought was great was Inivisible Man. This is based on a novel by Ralph Ellison, a story about an African-American in the forties, squatting the basement of a whites-only apartment building in which he's strung 1,369 light bulbs. Antonia and I didn't know this story at first, so we made one up involving an invisible man sitting in the empty green chair, and imagined that all the light bulbs were in the hope of seeing him. Mike was mainly fascinated by the technicalities of photographing a scene like this. Apparently, this rather puts him at odds with the artist, who doesn't like to discuss the technicalities of his work other than to mention that it's very hard to do indeed.