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Dead Troops Talk (a vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986)
Transparency in lightbox
90 1/8 x 164 1/8 ins
Provided by the artist - Jeff Wall
Jeff Wall's canvas-size fabricated photograph, situated on the divide between chemical and digital practice, meditates on war. Inspired by Goya, his giant lightbox tableau imagines 13 dead Russian soldiers who appear totally uninterested in the living. This approach is significant, for it acknowledges the role of the artist in representing physical and psychic pain. It dismantles the limited and lingering notion that a photograph is an objective mirror, instead of an expressive medium capable of portraying multiple realities. In her book Regarding the Pain of Others (2003), Susan Sontag used this image to conclude that we, who have not directly experienced "their" specific dread and terror, cannot understand or imagine their suffering.