'I don't paint, but I began as a painter. I take the term ''painter'' as figurative. "Painter" can mean "maker" in that sense.' - Jeff Wall in conversation with David Shapiro
Born in 1946 in British Colombia, Canada, Jeff Wall has shown internationally for the last twenty-five years and is one of the most intriguing and influential artists working today. His signature works are large-scale narrative photographs in the form of backlit transparencies, mounted in light-boxes in the manner of advertisements at bus stops. Rather than advertising products, Wall's photographs celebrate moments of everyday life, often ones he has observed while driving around the streets of his native Vancouver and then re- created, using actors in the manner of a film-director.
Trained as an art-historian, Wall draws on sources as varied as the old masters, nineteenth century history painting and the writings of Baudelaire for inspiration. One of his best-known images recreates Hokusais A Gust of Wind in a modern setting; another references Death of Sardanapulus by Eugène Delacroix. With their references to film, literature and the history of art, Wall's photographs repay close study. Six key works are examined in depth in this survey, with rich material from new interviews with the artist and an overview of his career to date.
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