b. 1946, Vancouver, Canada. Lives and works in Vancouver
Jeff Wall tests the properties of photography in order to pursue a concerted and rigorous exploration of how pictures can be made and what they might mean. Strategies have included referencing 19th century painters such as Delacroix and Manet through structured compositions, but also an exploration of the aesthetic of the snapshot. Wall’s approach embraces both the pre-conceived and the unexpected. His work falls into two categories, namely un-staged pictures documenting locations, such as Still Creek, Vancouver, winter 2003, 2003, and cinematographic images produced with the use of actors, sets, crews and sometimes digital postproduction, as can be seen in A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai), 1993. Wall predominantly presents his photographs as large transparencies on lightboxes, with the colour, detailing and luminosity produced echoing classical and modern painting and the movie screen. Wall refers to his works as ‘prose poems’, after the writer Baudelaire, indicating they are not intended as illustrations for existing ideas or narratives, but are to be experienced as an autonomous pictures added to the world.