b. 1946, Canada

Jeff Wall Biography

Canadian artist Jeff Wall's photography rejects the notion of the photograph as a witness, choosing instead to recreate elaborate, staged mise-en-scenes from memory. These are often events and situations that Wall has experienced over a long time period, as opposed to the instant, 'in-the-moment' nature of taking a single shot.

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He is most famous for his large, back-lit Cibachrome photographs (which have earned him criticisms for not being a 'real' photographer) yet his works certainly capture the immediacy and emotion of traditional photography. They provide Wall with the freedom to recreate, allowing the emotions and moods he saw to be reflected more thoughtfully and purposefully. This practice of re-creation is critical to how Wall's pieces work, as it allows them stand apart from traditional photography.

This move away from the conventional is found in every aspect of Wall's work. Mounting the photographs in lightboxes and enlarging them to a very large scale is all part of exaggerating the artificial process of the creation of his pieces. To further highlight this, Wall draws on a number of artists for compositional strategies, such as Edouard Manet and Diego Velazquez, and notably Katsushika Hosaki in his dramatic 1993 work A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hosaki).

While it might appear that his works are loaded with social commentary or are observational, for Wall they are neither scathing political messages nor romanticised 'pretty' imagery. Rather he seeks to best represent the space in which these events are taking place, letting the viewer pick up on the emotional weight of the featured incident. This is especially clear in his more recent works, such as Listener (2015), which shows a shirtless man on his knees in the dirt surrounded by a group of ominous looking men; a recognisable scene to anyone watching the news. Yet there is no indication of context, only the emotional atmosphere of the situation.

Wall has exhibited in solo exhibitions in Canada, the U.S., and Europe; notably the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2001); Tate Modern (2005); and the Art Institute of Chicago (2007). He has also received recognition in being awarded the Hasselblad Award in 2002 and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2006.

Jeff Wall works and lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Ocula | 2016

Jeff Wall
featured artworks

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Trap set by Jeff Wall contemporary artwork print
Jeff Wall Trap set, 2021 Inkjet print
166 x 180 x 6.9 cm
Pilar Corrias Request Price & Availability
Fortified door by Jeff Wall contemporary artwork photography
Jeff Wall Fortified door, 2007 Silver gelatin print
153 x 126 cm
Galerie Greta Meert Request Price & Availability
Sapling by Jeff Wall contemporary artwork photography
Jeff Wall Sapling, 1999 Transparency in light-box
67.7 x 58.5 x 13.8 cm
White Cube Request Price & Availability
Men move an engine block by Jeff Wall contemporary artwork sculpture, photography
Jeff Wall Men move an engine block, 2008 Gelatin silver print
143.5 x 182 x 5 cm
White Cube Request Price & Availability
Picture for Parkett by Jeff Wall contemporary artwork photography, print
Jeff Wall Picture for Parkett, 1997 Silver gelatin print
48 x 51.5 x 3.5 cm
White Cube Contact Gallery
Intersection by Jeff Wall contemporary artwork photography
Jeff Wall Intersection, 2008 Colour photograph
202 x 252 cm
White Cube Request Price & Availability
Parent child by Jeff Wall contemporary artwork photography
Jeff Wall Parent child, 2018 Inkjet print
220 x 275 cm
Gagosian Request Price & Availability
Peas and Sauce by Jeff Wall contemporary artwork photography
Jeff Wall Peas and Sauce, 1999 Transparency in lightbox
60.6 x 72.4 x 16.5 cm
Marian Goodman Gallery Request Price & Availability
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Jeff Wall
recent exhibitions

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Represented by these
Ocula Member Galleries

Gagosian contemporary art gallery in 980 Madison Avenue, New York, United States
Gagosian Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris +6
White Cube contemporary art gallery in Bermondsey, London, United Kingdom
White Cube Hong Kong, London, New York, Seoul, Paris +1
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