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Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Destroyed Room, 1978 Transparency in lightbox, 62 ⅝ × 90 ¼ inches (159 × 229 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Destroyed Room, 1978

Transparency in lightbox, 62 ⅝ × 90 ¼ inches (159 × 229 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Picture for Women, 1979 Transparency in lightbox, 56 ⅛ × 80 ½ inches (142.5 × 204.5 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Picture for Women, 1979

Transparency in lightbox, 56 ⅛ × 80 ½ inches (142.5 × 204.5 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Mimic, 1982 Transparency in lightbox, 78 × 90 inches (198 × 228.6 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Mimic, 1982

Transparency in lightbox, 78 × 90 inches (198 × 228.6 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Thinker, 1986 Transparency in lightbox, 85 ⅛ × 90 ¼ inches (216 × 229 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Thinker, 1986

Transparency in lightbox, 85 ⅛ × 90 ¼ inches (216 × 229 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Drain, 1989 Transparency in lightbox, 90 ¼ × 114 ¼ inches (229 × 290 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Drain, 1989

Transparency in lightbox, 90 ¼ × 114 ¼ inches (229 × 290 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Pine on the Corner, 1990 Transparency in lightbox, 46 ⅞ × 58 ¾ inches (119 × 149 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Pine on the Corner, 1990

Transparency in lightbox, 46 ⅞ × 58 ¾ inches (119 × 149 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk (a vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, nearMoqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986), 1992 Transparency in lightbox, 90 ¼ × 164 ¼ inches (229 × 417 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk (a vision after an ambush of a Red Army patrol, near
Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986), 1992

Transparency in lightbox, 90 ¼ × 164 ¼ inches (229 × 417 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai), 1993 Transparency in lightbox, 90 ¼ × 148 ½ inches (229 × 377 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai), 1993

Transparency in lightbox, 90 ¼ × 148 ½ inches (229 × 377 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Diagonal Composition, 1993 Transparency in lightbox, 15 ¾ × 18 ⅛ inches (40 × 46 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Diagonal Composition, 1993

Transparency in lightbox, 15 ¾ × 18 ⅛ inches (40 × 46 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Volunteer, 1996 Gelatin silver print, 87 ¼ × 123 ¼ inches (221.5 × 313 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Volunteer, 1996

Gelatin silver print, 87 ¼ × 123 ¼ inches (221.5 × 313 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona, 1999 Transparency in lightbox, 73 ⅝ × 138 ¼ inches (187 × 351 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona, 1999

Transparency in lightbox, 73 ⅝ × 138 ¼ inches (187 × 351 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue, 1999–2001 Transparency in lightbox, 68 ½ × 98 ⅝ inches (174 × 250.5 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue, 1999–2001

Transparency in lightbox, 68 ½ × 98 ⅝ inches (174 × 250.5 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Overpass, 2001 Transparency in lightbox, 84 ⅜ × 107 ⅝ inches (214.2 × 273.3 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Overpass, 2001

Transparency in lightbox, 84 ⅜ × 107 ⅝ inches (214.2 × 273.3 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, In front of a nightclub, 2006 Transparency in lightbox, 89 × 142 ⅛ inches (226 × 360.8 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, In front of a nightclub, 2006

Transparency in lightbox, 89 × 142 ⅛ inches (226 × 360.8 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Men move an engine block, 2008 Gelatin silver print, 54 ½ × 69 ½ inches (138.5 × 176.5 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Men move an engine block, 2008

Gelatin silver print, 54 ½ × 69 ½ inches (138.5 × 176.5 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Knife throw, 2008 Color photograph, 72 ½ × 100 ⅞ inches (184 × 256 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Knife throw, 2008

Color photograph, 72 ½ × 100 ⅞ inches (184 × 256 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Ivan Sayers, costume historian, lectures at the University Women’s Club, Vancouver, 7 Dec. 2009. Virginia Newton-Moss wears a British ensemble c. 1910, from Sayers’ collection., 2009 Color photograph, 88 ⅜ × 71 ⅞ inches (224.3 × 182.5 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Ivan Sayers, costume historian, lectures at the University Women’s Club, Vancouver, 7 Dec. 2009. Virginia Newton-Moss wears a British ensemble c. 1910, from Sayers’ collection., 2009

Color photograph, 88 ⅜ × 71 ⅞ inches (224.3 × 182.5 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Boy falls from tree, 2010 Color photograph, 120 ¼ × 89 inches (305.3 × 226 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Boy falls from tree, 2010

Color photograph, 120 ¼ × 89 inches (305.3 × 226 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Young man wet with rain, 2011 Gelatin silver print, 58 ⅞ × 108 ⅜ inches (149.6 × 275.2 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Young man wet with rain, 2011

Gelatin silver print, 58 ⅞ × 108 ⅜ inches (149.6 × 275.2 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Boxing, 2011 Color photograph, 84 ⅝ × 116 ⅛ inches (215 × 295 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Boxing, 2011

Color photograph, 84 ⅝ × 116 ⅛ inches (215 × 295 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Monologue, 2013 Color photograph, 94 ½ × 111 ⅛ inches (240 × 282.3 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Monologue, 2013

Color photograph, 94 ½ × 111 ⅛ inches (240 × 282.3 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Changing room, 2014 Inkjet print, 78 ⅝ × 43 inches (199.5 × 109 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Changing room, 2014

Inkjet print, 78 ⅝ × 43 inches (199.5 × 109 cm)
© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Mask maker, 2015 Inkjet print, 65 ⅞ × 53 inches (167.4 × 134.5 cm)© Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, Mask maker, 2015

Inkjet print, 65 ⅞ × 53 inches (167.4 × 134.5 cm)
© Jeff Wall

About

I begin by not photographing.
—Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall’s work synthesizes the essentials of photography with elements from other art forms—including painting, cinema, and literature—in a complex mode that he calls “cinematography.” His pictures range from classical reportage to elaborate constructions and montages, usually produced at the larger scale traditionally identified with painting.

Wall was born in 1946 in Vancouver, Canada, where he still lives. He became involved with photography in the 1960s—the heyday of Conceptual art—and by the mid-1970s he had extended Conceptualism’s spirit of experimentation into his new version of pictorial photography. His pictures were made as backlit color transparencies, a medium identified at the time with publicity rather than photographic art. These works had a startling effect when exhibited in galleries and museums, playing a part in the establishment of color as an important aspect of the aesthetics of photography.

Some of Wall’s early pictures evoke the history of image making by overtly referring to other artworks: The Destroyed Room (1978) explores themes of violence and eroticism inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s monumental painting The Death of Sardanapalus (1827), while Picture for Women (1979) recalls Édouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergère (1882) and brings the implications of that famous painting into the context of the cultural politics of the late 1970s. These two pictures are models of a thread in Wall’s work that the artist calls “blatant artifice”: pictures that foreground the theatricality of both their subject and their production. Dead Troops Talk (1991–92), a large image depicting a hallucinatory moment from the Soviet war in Afghanistan, is a central example, and was one of the first works to employ digital-imaging technology, which has since transformed the landscape of photography. Wall was a pioneer in exploring this dimension and remains at the forefront of its development.

A second key direction in Wall’s work is what he calls the “near documentary.” These are pictures that resemble documentary photographs in style and manner but are made in collaboration with the people who appear in them. Wall works mostly with nonprofessional models in a way that recalls the neorealism of the Italian cinema of the 1950s and 1960s, creating images of everyday moments charged with complex meanings. By depicting incidents that he witnesses but does not attempt to photograph in the moment, he opens up formal and dramatic possibilities for pictures that, he has said, “contemplate the effects and meanings of documentary photographs.”

Since the mid-1990s Wall has expanded his repertoire, working with traditional black-and-white prints and, more recently, inkjet color prints.

Jeff Wall, Low tide gull shadow, 2020, inkjet print, 23 x 26 inches (58.5 x 66 cm)

In Conversation
Jeff Wall and Gary Dufour

Jeff Wall speaks to Gary Dufour about his new photographs, made on the beachfront of English Bay in Vancouver, Canada, that record the endlessly varied and shifting patterns created in seaweed by the ebb and flow of the tide.

Jeff Wall, Dead Troops Talk (a vision after an ambush of a Red Army Patrol, near Moqor, Afghanistan, winter 1986), 1992, transparency in lightbox, 90 ⅛ × 164 ⅛ inches (229 × 417 cm)

Death Valley ’89: Jeff Wall vs. Photography

Daniel Spaulding considers formal and technical developments in the photographer’s work against the background of global shifts of power and politics, specifically the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Josh Kline, Skittles, 2014, commercial fridge, light box, and blended liquids in bottles, 86 ½ × 127 ½ × 41 inches (219.7 × 323.9 × 104.1 cm) © Josh Kline. Photo:  © Timothy Schenck

Laws of Motion

Catalyzed by Laws of Motion—a group exhibition pairing artworks from the 1980s on by Jeff Koons, Cady Noland, Rosemarie Trockel, and Jeff Wall with contemporary sculptures by Josh Kline and Anicka Yi—Wyatt Allgeier discusses the convergences and divergences in these artists’ practices with an eye to the economic worlds from which they spring.

Installation view of Jeff Wall exhibition at Gagosian, New York

Jeff Wall: The Space of Photography

Jeff Wall leads a tour through his most recent exhibition in New York.

Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2019

The Summer 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a detail from Afrylic by Ellen Gallagher on its cover.

Jeff Wall: The World as It Appears

Jeff Wall: The World as It Appears

The artist speaks with David Rimanelli about his newest works, the physicality of photography, and the persistence of certain motifs throughout his career.

Unreal Americans

Unreal Americans

Benjamin Nugent reflects on questions of verisimilitude and American life in the group exhibition I Don’t Like Fiction, I Like History at Gagosian, Beverly Hills.

Andreas Gursky and Jeff Wall

In Conversation
Andreas Gursky and Jeff Wall

On the occasion of a major survey of Andreas Gursky’s work at the Hayward Gallery in London, Gursky and Jeff Wall discuss the state of photography and the evolution of the medium.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Jeff Koons, Bluebird Planter, 2010–16 © Jeff Koons

Art Fair

FIAC Online 2021
Printemps oublié

March 2–12, 2021

Gagosian is pleased to present Printemps oublié for the first online edition of FIAC. This curated presentation reflects the dual character of springtime as a reminder of past trials and the harbinger of a vibrant new season to come.

All the artworks will appear on the Gagosian website and a rotating selection will appear in the inaugural FIAC Online Viewing Rooms, from March 4 to 7.

Jeff Koons, Bluebird Planter, 2010–16 © Jeff Koons

Still from “Photographers in Focus: Jeff Wall.” Artwork © Jeff Wall

Video

Photographers in Focus: Jeff Wall

In this video, filmed during the installation of the exhibition Jeff Wall at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York, Jeff Wall discusses the evolution of his process and the role of photography as both an art form and a documentary device. “Photographers in Focus” is a series produced by Nowness that turns the camera on photographers in action.

Still from “Photographers in Focus: Jeff Wall.” Artwork © Jeff Wall

Photo: Andrew Querner

Artist Spotlight

Jeff Wall

November 18–24, 2020

From his pioneering use of backlit color transparencies in the 1970s to his intricately staged scenes of enigmatic incidents from daily life, literature, and film, Jeff Wall has expanded the definition of the photograph, both as object and as illusion. His pictures range from classical reportage and the direct contemplation of natural forms to elaborate constructions and montages, usually produced at a large scale traditionally identified with painting.

Photo: Andrew Querner

See all News for Jeff Wall

Museum Exhibitions

Jeff Wall, Daybreak (on an olive farm/Negev Desert/Israel), 2011 © Jeff Wall

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Among the Trees

March 4–October 31, 2020
Hayward Gallery, London
www.southbankcentre.co.uk

This exhibition brings together artworks that explore our relationships with trees and forests. Beginning with pioneering works from the late 1960s, Among the Trees surveys an expansive artistic terrain, including sculpture, painting, installation, video, and photography. The show invites viewers to consider trees as symbols and as living organisms that have helped to shape human civilization. Work by Sally Mann, Giuseppe Penone, and Jeff Wall is included.

Jeff Wall, Daybreak (on an olive farm/Negev Desert/Israel), 2011 © Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue, 1999–2001 © Jeff Wall

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Jeff Wall

June 18, 2019–October 15, 2020
George Economou Collection, Athens
www.thegeorgeeconomoucollection.com

This exhibition is a focused survey of the artist’s photographs and lightboxes, including some of his best-known tableaux. Works from the late 1980s to those made in recent years reflect Jeff Wall’s use of different historical genres.

Jeff Wall, After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue, 1999–2001 © Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall, The Holocaust Memorial in the Jewish Cemetery, 1987 © Jeff Wall

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Das Gedächtnis der Bilder

March 8–August 23, 2020
Kunstmuseen Krefeld, Haus Lange, Germany
kunstmuseenkrefeld.de

This exhibition, whose title translates to The Memory of Images, focuses on the “historiographical turn” in art and features works of art from the collection of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld that visualize historical moments, encapsulating collective memory in open and ambiguous images. Many of the exhibited works share common motifs, such as monuments, ruins, and reconstructions, while the spectrum of approaches includes documentation, restaging, symbolic charging, and ironic refraction. Work by Gerhard Richter and Jeff Wall is included.

Jeff Wall, The Holocaust Memorial in the Jewish Cemetery, 1987 © Jeff Wall

Installation view, Fiçcão e fabricação: Fotografia de arquitetura após a revolução digital, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon, March 20–August 19, 2019. Artwork, left to right: © Jeff Wall, © Gregory Crewdson

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Fiçcão e fabricação
Fotografia de arquitetura após a revolução digital

March 20–August 19, 2019
Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon
www.maat.pt

This exhibition, whose English title is Fiction and Fabrication: Photography of Architecture after the Digital Turn, looks at artists who have created and engaged with imagery of architecture. It examines how digital manipulation has enabled a fictionalization of architectural spaces, and explores architecture’s role in an expanded practice of photography within contemporary art. Work by Gregory Crewdson, Andreas Gursky, and Jeff Wall is included.

Installation view, Fiçcão e fabricação: Fotografia de arquitetura após a revolução digital, Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, Lisbon, March 20–August 19, 2019. Artwork, left to right: © Jeff Wall, © Gregory Crewdson

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Press

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