Ian Wallace

Hypnerotomachia (The Staircase)

1977
The title of this work takes its name from the book of Early Renaissance woodcut prints, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, by Francesco Colonna published in Venice in 1499. “Hypnerotomachia” when translated means “The Strife of Love in a Dream”. A classic Freudian drama, this quadriptych plays on the search of romance, dreamlike scenery and architectural settings in a frozen moment in time. Ian Wallace was very interested in the avant-garde French and Italian film-making of the 1960s and between 1977 and 1979, he produced what he called “photographic enlargements” with a sequential narrative. The theatrical-cinematographic pose of the protagonist-model, as well as the exaggerated attention brought to bear on her gaze, in this piece makes us want to understand the nature of the dialogue between the two characters that are mysteriously emerging from the darkness.
Artist
Title
Hypnerotomachia (The Staircase)
Date
1977
Medium
Photograph
Materials
4 gelatin silver prints with applied colour
Dimensions
122 x 486.4 cm
Nationality
Canadian
Credit line
Purchased 2010 with the generous support of the Audain Foundation, Vancouver
Accession number
42998.1-4