artist / participant

press release

On June 1, 2018, the Kunsthalle Mannheim will inaugurate its new museum building, which will be the largest in Germany at present, with a grand opening to present its collection in a new form and to debut its major exhibition, Jeff Wall: Appearance.

The Kunsthalle’s team of curators and its director Ulrike Lorenz have assembled a captivating array of site-specific works by international artists including Rebecca Horn, Dan Graham, William Kentridge, Alicja Kwade and Anselm Kiefer. These artist rooms are embedded in a new interpretation of the renowned collection, which includes key works ranging from Edouard Manet and Max Beckmann to Francis Bacon, and a remarkable sculpture collection including works by Auguste Rodin, Umberto Boccioni, Alberto Giacometti, and Thomas Hirschhorn.

The Kunsthalle Mannheim’s significant applied arts collection will be presented to the public in its entirety for the first time.

With its opening exhibition, Jeff Wall: Appearance (June 1, 2018–September 9, 2018), the Kunsthalle honors the work of the Canadian conceptual artist. Jeff Wall established his reputation in the 1970s with his large-format photographs and lightboxes, which placed fine art photography in a new light. In six rooms comprising 900 square meters, the show explores the central elements in Wall’s oeuvre: the enigmatic and the grotesque, the relation of an image within an image, people in interiors, language and gestures, as well as role plays and interactions.

“We focus on works from his more recent creative period. Alongside his lightboxes and black-and-white photographs, we will be the first to showcase a unique work group of color photographs,” explains curator Dr. Sebastian Baden. He conceived the exhibition together with Christophe Gallois and Clement Minighetti of the Mudam Luxembourg (Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean).

The exhibition plumbs the multiple meanings of the exhibition title, “appearance,” which the artist chose himself. Wall investigates the technical and metaphorical qualities assigned to a photographic image. Furthermore, the title plays on the question of reality in a photograph and how this reality might be staged. Over 30 works from different creative periods were selected from the artist’s studio and from international lenders. More recent pieces and early key works are grouped by theme, allowing a fresh take on the photographer’s oeuvre at the age of 71. The majority of the exhibited works date from the past twenty years.

Jeff Wall is one of the most important figures in contemporary fine art photography: the Canadian-born artist received the Hasselblad Award for Photography in 2002 and has influenced art history and the meaning of artistic photography significantly from his very first exhibition in 1978. His radiant, atmospherically dense images are a constant source of wonder, rendering narrative aspects mundane and mysterious at once. In his works, Wall is able to depict the perception of the self and its surroundings in an artistically impressive manner.

The exhibition will take place in cooperation with Mudam Luxembourg (Musee d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean) (October 5, 2018 to January 6, 2019).

Call for papers On the occasion of the exhibition, a symposium entitled “Photography as Art: Jeff Wall’s Significance Today” will be held at the Kunsthalle Mannheim on July 25 and 26, with the aim of stimulating discussion about current art historical research on the subject of photography in the context of Jeff Wall’s work. Contributions for the symposium are being accepted until May 6, 2018. Further information about the call for papers is available at (English version at bottom).