artist / participant
With Jeff Wall, Kunsthaus Bregenz in cooperation with the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk is presenting one of the most innovative artists of his generation.
He has been involved in photography since the late 1960s and began presenting large-scale images as early as 1976, frequently in the form of transparencies in light boxes. He describes his work as "cinematographic"; making use of approaches normally identified with film-making for the creation of photographs. He has often expressed his admiration for the way filmmakers are able to combine different stylistic approaches in a single film, explore different levels of artifice and technical complexity, work with performers, and play with photography's documentary capacity.
His photographs contest the traditional aesthetics of photography, whilst simultaneously compressing multilayered narratives into impressive pictures or "tableaux." His subject matter ranges from contemporary social issues to the high artifice of imaginary worlds. He draws inspiration from painting, photography, literature, and film. Many of his images are based on events the artist has experienced or observed, subsequently reconstructing them for the camera.
Wall was an early adopter of digital technology, employing it since the beginning of the 1990s to construct many of his images. The apparent unity of the pictures is in fact the result of a complex assembly of different shots. He uses this process not just for fantasy scenes like The Flooded Grave but also for many apparent snapshots.
Since 1996 Jeff Wall has also embraced black and white photography, extending his investigation of the aesthetics of photography, and creating references to classic street photography and film noir. The Bregenz exhibition begins with the large black and white photographs from the mid-1990s and concludes with works being presented to the wider public for the first time.
The exhibition in Bregenz is the first comprehensive presentation of his work in Austria for over ten years.
A catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition with essays by Camiel van Winkel, Hripsimé Visser, and a conversation between Yilmaz Dziewior and Jeff Wall.