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Jeff Wall Biography

Jeff Wall is a Canadian photographer born in 1946 in Vancouver. He studied art history at the University of Vancouver and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Fascinated by the great paintings of modern life of the nineteenth century, he creates contemporary equivalents through photography. Thus, Jeff Wall invents a real staging around his works. His huge photographic prints are mounted in aluminium boxes and are illuminated from behind. In the same way, their monumental format rivals that of historical paintings. The artist chooses to present his works with a vocabulary specific to paintings.

However, his photographic reconstruction influenced by pictorial motifs is also done with a social dimension. His work can be seen as a continuation of other contemporary photographers in Vancouver. These artists, who emerged from the 1980s, are known as the Vancouver School and their work is influence by documentary. Their desire is to capture reality in action and reconstruct the daily lives of ordinary people.

For Jew Wall, however, photography no longer serves to record the real long term, but is the medium to reconstruct a specific moment as seen by the artist. He is particularly interested in the people of his pictures and the place in which they evolve – usually urban landscapes, streets and suburbs. Through these characters, he decides to explore various aspects of daily life and highlight the meaning of certain gestures. Above all, he seeks to make the viewer a witness of all these people immortalised by photography.

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