Gesture(s)

Most of Jeff Wall’s street pictures are based on everyday situations that he has witnessed at first hand. He is particularly interested in what he calls ‘micro-gestures’: gestures that seem automatic or compulsive, and which are at the same time emblematic of tensions within society. 

Mimic detail

In the work Mimic (1982), the man walking with the woman makes an ambiguous but apparently obscene and racist gesture, holding his upraised middle finger close to the corner of his eye, “slanting” his eye in mockery of the Asian man’s eyes.

President Donald Trump was photographed reading from notes at a daily coronavirus task force press conference where the word “corona” was crossed out and replaced in his handwriting with “Chinese” to describe COVID-19.

The image appeared as Trump ramped up his description of the coronavirus as a “Chinese virus” as he was questioned about whether he considers the label to be racist.

Donald Trump has referred to the coronavirus as “the Chinese virus”, escalating racially motivated harassment of Asian Americans and deepening the US-China diplomatic spat over the outbreak.

The World Health Organization has advised against terms that link the virus to China or the city of Wuhan, where it was first detected, in order to avoid discrimination or stigmatisation.