Off the Wall

March 6–August 22, 2021
Floor 3

The impulse to move photographs off the wall and into the open space of the gallery is not new. Since the 1960s, artists have challenged established notions of how a photograph should be displayed. In this exhibition, five contemporary artists expand upon earlier efforts to break free from the confines of the picture frame by transforming photographs into sculpture, including them in complex installations, projecting them onto various surfaces, even creating custom furniture for their display.

Liz Deschenes’s photographs in Off the Wall are sculptural, installed on the floor in space usually occupied by viewers. Oliver Chanarin frames his prints in a typical manner, but controls their display through robotic arms modeled after those used in automated warehouses. Sarah Sze’s intricate installation of still and moving images blurs the boundary between art and life, the virtual and the real. Dayanita Singh playfully disrupts expectations of photographic presentation by showing her work in her own micro-museums. And Lieko Shiga experiments with the gallery space, inviting viewers to experience her photographs by physically moving through them. Together these inventive, divergent approaches engage visitors in unconventional ways that speak to the incredible dynamism of the current moment in photography.

Exhibition Preview

Liz Deschenes, Gallery 4.1.1, 2015 (installation view of Serialities at Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY, 2017); © Liz Deschenes; courtesy the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; image courtesy Hauser & Wirth;
photo: Timothy Doyon
Oliver Chanarin, 0006320102 from The Apparatus, 2020; courtesy the artist and Goodman Gallery, London; © Oliver Chanarin
Dayanita Singh, Museum of Shedding, 2016; courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London; © Dayanita Singh; image courtesy Stephen White & Co.
Sarah Sze, Images in Translation, 2019; courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles; © Sarah Sze
Lieko Shiga, Eternal Present from the series Human Spring, 2019; courtesy the artist; © Lieko Shiga

Artist Interviews


Generous support for Off the Wall is provided by Kate and Wes Mitchell.

Meaningful support is provided by Fundación Botín, Takeo Obayashi, and Eleanor and Francis Shen.

Header image: Liz Deschenes’ photographic sculptures, 2021 © Liz Deschenes; photo: Katherine Du Tiel