Extended through July 26, 2019
Gagosian is pleased to announce Jeff Wall’s first exhibition with the gallery. The majority of the works included are on view for the first time.
From his pioneering use in the 1970s of backlit color transparencies—a medium then synonymous with advertising—to his intricately constructed scenes of enigmatic incidents from daily life, literature, and film, Wall has expanded the definition of the photograph, both as object and illusion.
The triptych I giardini/The Gardens (2017) was photographed in the gardens of the Villa Silvio Pellico in Moncalieri, outside of Turin, Italy. Though Wall has made several works that combine two or more images, this is the first in which the order, read from left to right, represents a passage of time. It therefore has a narrative aspect absent from any previous picture group. The three images—individually titled Appunto/Complaint, Disappunto/Denial, and Diffida/Expulsion order—trace the relations between either two or four characters through three depicted moments. A doubling effect occurs again in Pair of interiors (2018), a diptych showing either one or two couples in a lamplit living room, and in Summer Afternoons (2013), which shows what appears to be another equally introverted, younger couple in a sunny apartment. Each person appears in his or her own picture, creating uncertainty about whether the diptych depicts one or more “summer afternoons.”
Landscapes are the subject of three more works. Hillside, Sicily, November 2007 (2007), one of two black-and-white images in the exhibition, shows the dry, rocky landscape of the eastern part of the Italian island; and an olive orchard has risen out of the dry desert in Daybreak (on an olive farm/Negev Desert/Israel) (2011), where we see Bedouin harvest workers about to awake and begin their workday. The only human structure on the Sicilian hillside is the remnant of a small stone shelter; on the horizon behind the olive orchard stands one of the largest prisons in Israel. With its flat, vibrant colors resembling a painting more than a photograph, Recovery (2017–18) is set in a seaside park on another summer afternoon. One figure separates himself from the fantasy: a young man sitting on the grass, looking out of the composition, up and away. Is the image a blissful momentary vision occasioned by his recovery from some temporary misfortune? Recovery recalls Wall’s previous experiments with hallucinatory moments in works such as Dead Troops Talk (1992) or The Flooded Grave (2000).
Parent child (2018) also shows a blissful moment on a summer day—at least for the dreamy little girl who has decided to recline on the sidewalk; less so for the adult responsible for her. Another child appears in Mother of pearl (2016), this time in a room filled with antique furniture and keepsakes. Fascinated by a set of iridescent old game counters—made of mother of pearl—she is transported by her imagination as perhaps only children can be.
Weightlifter (2015), Wall’s most recent black-and-white picture, is an example of what the artist calls his “near documentary” direction. The lifting of heavy objects recalls the most archaic forms of labor and the permanent subjection of life to the force of gravity. The sport of weightlifting enacts that archaism, detached from any practical purpose and absorbed in private ambition.
A fully illustrated catalogue with a text by Russell Ferguson will accompany the exhibition.
Jeff Wall: The Space of Photography
Jeff Wall leads a tour through his most recent exhibition in New York.
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.
Jeff Wall: An Exhibition Tour
Join Jeff Wall as he leads a tour through his latest exhibition in Beverly Hills. The artist speaks about the genesis and creation of each photograph, addressing the aesthetic decisions involved.
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.
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.
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.
Photographers in Focus
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
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
Jeff Wall is available for online reading from November 18 through November 24, 2020, as part of Artist Spotlight: Jeff Wall. From his pioneering use in the 1970s of backlit color transparencies to his intricately constructed scenes of enigmatic incidents from daily life, literature, and film, Jeff Wall has expanded the definition of the photograph, both as object and illusion. Published on the occasion of his 2019 exhibition at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York, the catalogue includes an illuminating new essay by Russell Ferguson, along with full-page reproductions of the nine works in the exhibition, all of which were made over the last ten years, and several of which have never previously been exhibited or published. The two cover options illustrate alternate panels from a diptych, Pair of interiors (2018).
Jeff Wall (New York: Gagosian, 2019)
Thursday, June 27, 2019, 6:30pm
Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York
Artist James Welling and film director and writer Jane Weinstock will lead an exhibition tour of Jeff Wall, currently on view at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York. Welling and Weinstock will offer their unique perspectives on various photographs, with time for questions at the end. The pair recently wrote an essay for the exhibition catalogue accompanying Jeff Wall’s show currently on view at the George Economou Collection, Athens. The event has reached capacity. To join the wait list, contact email@example.com.
Jeff Wall, Summer Afternoons, 2013 © Jeff Wall
Frieze Chelsea Night
Friday, May 3, 2019, 6–8pm
Gagosian, West 24th Street and West 21st Street, New York
Galleries and non-profits located in Chelsea will remain open to Frieze audiences after hours. New paintings by Jonas Wood will be on view at Gagosian, West 24th Street, New York, and Jeff Wall’s first exhibition with the gallery will be on view at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York.
Jeff Wall, Weightlifter, 2015 © Jeff Wall
Laws of Motion
Josh Kline, Jeff Koons, Cady Noland, Rosemarie Trockel, Jeff Wall, Anicka Yi
January 14–March 9, 2019