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Jeff Wall

Lives and works in Vancouver

B. 1946

Jeff Wall is renowned for large-format photographs with subject matter that ranges from mundane corners of the urban environment, to elaborate tableaux that take on the scale and complexity of 19th-century history paintings.

Wall struck on the idea of producing large, backlit photographs after seeing an illuminated advertisement from a bus window. Having recently been to the Prado, Madrid, the artist combined his knowledge of the Western pictorial tradition – he had studied art history at London’s Courtauld Institute – with his interest in contemporary media, to create one of most influential visions in contemporary art. Wall calls his photographs ‘prose poems’, after the writings of Charles Baudelaire, a description that emphasises how each picture should be experienced rather than understood as an illustration of a specific narrative. His pictures may depict an instant in a scenario, but the before and after that moment are left unknown, allowing them to remain open to multiple interpretations. The prose poem format allows any truth claims for the photograph – the facts we expect from journalistic photography – to remain suspended, and Wall believes that in that state of suspension the viewer experiences pleasure.

In addition to the light-boxes, Wall has made, since 1996, black-and-white prints and large-scale colour inkjet photographs.

Jeff Wall was born in 1946 in Vancouver where he lives and works. He has exhibited widely, including solo exhibitions at Glenstone, Maryland (2021); Economou Collection, Athens (2019); Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany, touring to Mudam Luxembourg (2018); Pérez Art Museum, Miami (2015); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, touring to Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark (2014–15); Art Gallery of Western Australia, touring to National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2012–13); Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2013); Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain (2011); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2008); The Museum of Modern Art, New York touring to The Art Institute of Chicago and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2007); and Tate Modern, London touring to Schaulager, Basel, Switzerland (2005). Group exhibitions include 5th Shanghai Biennale (2004); Documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (2002); 12th Biennale of Sydney (2000); 24th Bienal de São Paulo (1998); and Documenta 10, Kassel, Germany (1997).

Available Artworks

Jeff Wall

Intersection, 2007

Price upon request

Jeff Wall

Pawnshop, 2009

Price upon request

Jeff Wall

Low tide gull shadow, 2020

Price upon request

Jeff Wall

Searcher, 2007

Price upon request


Films

In the Studio

Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall talks about how his Vancouver studio has influenced and changed his work over the years.

In Focus

Jeff Wall on 'Band & crowd'

Made during the shooting of Jeff Wall's photograph Band & Crowd (2011), this film gives a rare glimpse into the artist's working method.

In Focus

Jeff Wall on 'Boy falls from Tree'

Jeff Wall takes a closer look at his work Boy falls from tree (2010). He discusses the process of making the work, where around 400 photographs were taken before one image was finally chosen.

In the Studio

Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall talks about how his Vancouver studio has influenced and changed his work over the years.

In Focus

Jeff Wall on 'Pair of interiors'

Jeff Wall on his photograph Pair of interiors, which was featured in his exhibition at White Cube Mason's Yard, London in 2019.

In the Gallery

Jeff Wall at Mason's Yard

Jeff Wall discusses his photographs Band & crowd (2011), Sunseeker (2021) and A woman with a necklace (2021), which sit between documentary and performance.



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