silver gelatin print
Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery Vancouver Art
Purchased with funds from the Audain Foundation, the Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund and the Major Purchase Fund
|Vancouver artist Jeff Wall has become internationally recognized for his
compelling photographs. Over the past thirty years, he has asserted the importance of
the pictorial traditions of modernism in the wake of the challenges to that tradition
presented by conceptual art and the postmodern critiques of representation of the
1980s and 1990s. Drawing on the aesthetics of cinema, photography and painting,
Wall’s work has played a key role in the development of photographic imagery as an
important arena in contemporary art. Since the late 70s, Wall has made his colour
photographs as transparencies presented in light boxes. His pictures often focus on points of tension within the urban context. He has used the
term ‘cinematography’ to refer to his work, emphasizing the
ways in which it has been affected by the various production
processes normally identified with filmmaking rather than still
photography. Many of his pictures are made in collaboration
with performers, mostly amateurs. Some are photographed
in the artificial environment of the studio, others on the
streets of the city. Since the early 1990s, he has used digital
technology to create montages of different individual
negatives, blending them into what appears as a single unified
photograph. In 1995, Wall began making traditional silver gelatin
black and white photographs, and this has become
an increasingly significant part of his practice since that
time. The simultaneous engagement with an older kind
of photography along with the new digital technologies
exemplifies Wall’s ongoing engagement with the intersection
of past and present.
The Gallery has recently acquired five of Wall’s artworks: the large-scale black and white photograph War Game, 2007, as well as Concrete Ball, 2002, Basin in Rome 2, 2003, Children, 1988, and River Road, 1994, printed 1997, all transparencies in lightboxes.
This is the first solo exhibition of Jeff Wall’s work in Vancouver since 1990. It will feature the Gallery’s recent acquisitions, which have not been previously exhibited in Vancouver, and will provide viewers with the opportunity to consider these pictures in relation to earlier works from the collection.
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Grant Arnold, Audain Curator of British Columbia Art.