JEFF WALL Photographs

26 May to 10 September 2012

JEFF WALL Photographs is an exhibition organised by the Art Gallery of Western Australia in association with the National Gallery of Victoria.

Jeff Wall
The Destroyed Room 1978
transparency in light box, AP
159 x 234
Courtesy of the artist © Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall is recognised as one of the most innovative and influential artists working today. JEFF WALL Photographs, this first Australian survey of his work brings together twenty-six photographs to present an overview of his outstanding achievements featuring key major works from over three decades of artistic and photographic innovation. Large-scale and luminous, his photographs have rewritten nearly every convention of photography. Wall’s outstanding body of work has played a decisive role in establishing photography as the major contemporary art form it is today.

Jeff Wall is widely acknowledged as one of the most inventive artists of the 20th & 21st centuries. His approach to photography is diverse, ranging from photographs presented as illuminated colour transparencies in light boxes, black and white prints and the more recently colour prints to intimate small-scale photographic observations. JEFF WALL Photographs will present key iconic works including: The Destroyed Room 1978, A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokasai) 1993, After ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue 1999-2000, Night 2001 and recent works such as Knife throw 2008, Boy falls from tree 2010 and Ivan Sayers, costume historian, lectures at the University Women’s Club, Vancouver, 7 Dec. 2009. Virginia Newton-Moss wears a British ensemble c.1910, from the Sayers’ collection. 2009.

Wall’s photographs are diverse, ambitious and embrace an expansive curiosity about photography, art, and the picture-making possibilities of both today. His tableau-scale photographs are based on first hand observations of everyday situations and incidents reconstructed by means of what the artist calls a ‘cinematographic approach’. Their size and photographic quality attract attention and offer the chance to revel in a near documentary imaginative photographic moment

Jeff Wall
After ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue
transparency in light box, AP
174 x 250.5
Courtesy of the artist © Jeff Wall

The near life-size works in JEFF WALL Photographs, often over 2 by 3 metres, are testaments to the ambitions this artist brings to photography. The size, intensity and quality of his colour, and black and white photographs achieve a sustained quality of attention allowing viewers to revel in the imaginative magic of his photographs. For Wall, the event depicted, formal composition and poetics are always important and in combination create works that extend photography as a medium, tell stories, and test the limits of ‘near’ documentary and conjectures built on memories. All of Jeff Wall’s photographs create distinctive imaginative new pictorial realities.

Wall’s vision and use of photography represent a bold step forward in the reconsideration of this medium and contemporary art. JEFF WALL Photographs is a rare opportunity to see works produced over three decades, allowing viewers the first opportunity to enjoy many of his most dazzling and recognised images, images that have changed the trajectories for photography.

The publication accompanying the exhibition JEFF WALL will include colour plates of all of the works in the exhibition; essays by Gary Dufour, Chief Curator | Deputy Director, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Isobel Crombie, Senior Curator, Photography National Gallery of Victoria and Mark Bolland, a New Zealand based writer and photographer will introduce and explore the evolution of photography in Wall’s work and contextualize the originality and significance of his art.

Conversation between Jeff Wall, Artist and Gary Dufour, Deputy Director | Chief Curator, AGWA. Perth 27 May 2012


Jeff Wall
A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai) 1993
transparency in light box, unique state
250 x 397
Tate, London
Purchased with the assistance from the Patrons of New Art through the Tate Gallery Foundation and from the National Art Collections Fund 1995
© Jeff Wall

Exhibition Travel Dates

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne 30 November 2012 to 17 March 2013
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 1 May to 28 July 2013





Last reviewed 12 December 2012

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