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Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall. Vancouver Artist: . Rhyne Simpson Art 106: Electronic Media UNC-Chapel Hill. Background: Jeff Wall. Born: Sept. 29, 1946 Nationality: Canadian Field: Photography, Photoconceptualism Training: MA in Arts History, Univ. of British Columbia ( 1970)

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Jeff Wall

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  1. Jeff Wall Vancouver Artist: Rhyne Simpson Art 106: Electronic Media UNC-Chapel Hill

  2. Background: Jeff Wall • Born: Sept. 29, 1946 • Nationality: Canadian • Field: Photography, Photoconceptualism • Training: • MA in Arts History, Univ. of British Columbia (1970) • Post-grad work atCourtauldInstitute, London (1970-1973) • Taught at University of British Columbia • Published essays on contemporary artists

  3. Canadian Photographer: Jeff Wall • A pioneer in staged photography • Concerned with the permanent conflict of man with himself and others • Confronts social conflicts, social realities, and intercultural problems • Characters are dealing with their own inner world

  4. Cinematographic Photography • Wall creates one-frame cinematic productions • Various compositions acquired from classical paintings • Complicated productions involving casts, sets, crews, and digital postproduction • Photographs require much effort and time

  5. King-sizedphotographs !!! • Best known for large-scale back-lit photographs • Transparencies are mounted in lightboxes • Inspired after viewing an illuminated advertisement from a bus window • Photographs average 6’ by 8’ • Made of hundreds of individual transparencies, taken over a period of months, and placed together in a digital montage.

  6. Themes • The permanent conflict of man with himself and others • Confronts social conflicts or intercultural problems • People are depicted as thinking individuals, dealing with their own inner world •  Silent dialogues

  7. CibachromeLightboxes • Created lightboxes for over 30 years. • Some measure 10’ by 16’ • Displayed in Museum of Modern Art • Like looking through a large window into another world

  8. The Destroyed Room (1978)

  9. The Destroyed Room (1978) • Presented at first gallery exhibition in 1978 • Refers to The Death of Sardanapalus(1827) by Eugene Delacroix • in which the Assyrian monarch commands the destruction of his possessions. • Wall recreates this violence in The Destroyed Room. The violence appears directed against a woman’s possessions.

  10. Mimic (1982)

  11. Mimic (1982) • 98 x 226 cm. color transparency • White couple walking beside an Asian man • Boyfriend makes obscene gesture and slants eyes in mockery of Asian man • Exhibits social tensions and racial prejudice • Resembles a candid shot • A recreation of scene witnessed by Wall

  12. Milk (1984)

  13. Milk (1984) • Explosion of milk symbolizes the man’s frame of mind • Vertical lines of brick contrast with tensions in the man’s arm and the arc of milk. • Wall: “Suffering and dispossession remain at the centre of social experience.”

  14. The Storyteller (1986)

  15. The Storyteller (1986) • Expresses the historical crisis of Native people of Canada • Suggests Manet’sDejeurnersurl’herbe(1863) , which depicts a group of Parisians picnicking in a leafy glade • An image of displacement, separation, and social alienation • Refers to empty promises of technological progress • The storyteller is at the lower left, suggesting cultural traditions can survive

  16. The Thinker (1986) • Creates a sense of infinity. Old man looks at metropolitan scene

  17. A Sudden Gust of Wind(1993)

  18. A Sudden Gust of Wind Hokusai (19th century) Jeff Wall (1993) A reinterpretation of Japanese artist Hokusai’s 19th century painting.

  19. Diagonal Composition (1993) Wall also creates photographs of old, ordinary places that have been neglected.

  20. Restoration (1993) Silver dye bleach transparency in light box; 46-7/8 x 16 ft. 7/8"

  21. Citizen (1993) • Created black and white photographs on paper in mid-1990’s.

  22. Insomnia (1994)

  23. Insomnia (1994) • Man, who is an actor, is suffering from an episode of insomia. • Set is a replica of Wall’s kitchen in his studio. • Open cabinet doors could represent the struggle to escape to sleep.

  24. Dead Troops Talk:A Vision After an Ambush of a Red Army Patrol Near Moquor, Afghanistan, Winter (1998)

  25. Dead Troops Talk (1998) • A Soviet patrol ambushed in Afghanistan during war in 1980’s • Merges images of horror stories with historical events of the past • Recently killed soldiers react to their state: “dialogue of the dead” • Each person responds different to the experience of death • Figures were photographed separately or in small groups, then assembled as montage

  26. Dead Troops Talk “I wanted to involve an element of levity, but without comedy... In any group of thirteen men, three at least are going to be complete fools. So it's likely they would remain fools even after death. On the other hand, maybe they weren't fools before, and only became so once they were killed.”- Jeff Wall Some of the soldiers react with horror at the death of their bodies and the consequences of war. One man reflects, while the other is shocked to see his mutilated hand.

  27. After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Preface (1999-2000)

  28. After “Invisible Man”by Ralph Ellison, The Preface (1999-2000) • Represents a scene from Ellison’ classic novel, The Invisible Man • Shows cellar room where Ellison’s narrator lives • Illustrates the room is “warm and full of light” with 1,369 lightbulbs

  29. Overpass (2001)

  30. Overpass (2001) • Four travelers carrying luggage and bags are crossing a bridge under stormy sky • Evokes a mood of pilgrimage, both physical and emotional • No communication between people

  31. In Front of a Nightclub (2006)

  32. In Front of NightClub (2006) • Young people outside a Vancouver club at night • Appears to be an accidental snapshot • Actually took weeks of costuming, set building, and lighting

  33. Boy Falling From Tree (2010)

  34. Boy Falls From Tree (2010) The “crooked path” suggests Wall’s artistic undertakings An instant of beauty before the dramatic impact

  35. Contributions of Jeff Wall: • Presents photography as a fine arts medium, equal to painting and sculpture • Achieved a level of artistic art unequaled by any Canadian artist. • Considers his work to be the “painting of modern life.”

  36. “I have always considered my work to be a mimesis of the effects of cinema and of painting (at least traditional painting), and so the fictional, formal and poetic part of it has always been very important.” - Jeff Wall

  37. References • Jeff Wall. (n.d.) In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved Oct. 15, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Wall • Turner, M. (2008, Oct. 2). The Great Wall. Vancouver Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.vanmag.com/news_and_features/the_great_wall • Jeff Wall Photographs: 1978-2004. (2006, Jan. 8). Modern Tate. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/jeffwall/rooms/room1.shtm • Lacayo, Richard (2007, March 8). Up against Jeff Wall. Time. Retrieved from http://lookingaround.blogs.time.com/2007/03/08/up_against_jeff_wall_1/

  38. References (cont.) • Steven, M. (2007, Feb. 25). Remain in light. New York Art. Retrieved from http://nymag.com/arts/art/reviews/28478/ • Jeff Wall: The storyteller (2011, Oct. 10). Heilbrunn timeline of art history. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2006.91 • Shapiro, D. (2011). Jeff Wall interview. Meseo Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.museomagazine.com/938488/JEFF-WALL • Jeff Wall (n.d.) In The Canadian Encyclopedia online. Retrieved from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0010896 • Jeff Wall (2007). The Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved from:http://www.artic.edu/aic/exhibitions/jeff_wall/overview.html

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