Jeff Wall :: Collage study for ‘A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai)’, 1993 / source: Tate Gallery

Wall created this collage of photocopied photographs and paper to assist his working process in the making of A Sudden Gust of Wind (after
Hokusai)
 1993 (Tate T06951). The completed
work is a large back-lit photographic transparency depicting four figures
frozen in attitudes as they respond to a gust of wind in a flat, open landscape.
The sky above them is scattered with papers released from a folder held by the
woman on the left side of the picture. Wall has used the sense of movement
across the image from left to right, resulting from the dispersal of papers and
other evidence of the wind’s direction, as a device to engage the viewer’s eye
and move it over the photograph. To make the work, Wall photographed actors
over a period of five months in a landscape outside his home town, Vancouver,
at times when similar weather conditions prevailed. He then collaged elements
of the photograph digitally in order to achieve the desired composition. The result is a tableau which appears staged in the
manner of a classical painting.
The Study clarifies various aspects of Wall’s
method. It shows the landscape in black and white, the four figures superimposed
on it and above them, the series of papers in the sky, each marked with a red
cross and annotated with numbers. Wall has explained that he used this study, “for working out aspects of the
composition. It was done by photocopying black and white scan outputs,
enlarging them, and patching them together. The main purpose was to plot out
the position and sizes of the papers blowing in the air. I took individual
pieces from the various original scans, copied them, and stuck them on the
paper, changing them around to make the composition of the sky. This took quite
a while, and the small pieces were moved around repeatedly. Each has a code
number, so I could trace them back to a sheet of film. So the collage was
really a working element in making the picture.” 

The Study is crossed by a grid of diagonal,
vertical and horizontal lines to aid the artist in mapping the positions of the
picture’s components. Two spindly trees on the left side of the image are
collaged from another piece of paper. They are presumably not in their final
positions as the trunk of the smaller one is misaligned near the base,
indicating places where the artist cut and paste. To the left of the trees, a
patch containing three small figures working the bare fields was also reworked
for the final image; only one figure remains. Close comparison between the
study and the work reveals shifts in the positions of the pages, highlighting
the process of experimentation carried out in creating the composition. (text from Tate Gallery)

thanks to Dolores Sampol for helping me gather the information about this great work

Link to Jeff Wall’s Photograph

Link to

Katsushika Hokusai’s Travellers
Caught in a Sudden breeze at Ejiri