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Kunsthaus Zürich

Jeff Wall

Large-format slides in illuminated boxes were first developed by the advertising industry in the 1950s. They were used to heighten the impact of commercial posters in underpasses, subway corridors and other badly lit areas. The Canadian artist Jeff Wall discovered and perfected this technique as an ideal medium for his ingeniously staged, narrative photographic tableaux. The colour slide back-lit with neon tubes produces an unusually cool, precise, clear picture. This crystalline photographic language, far removed from all that is vague, diffuse and obviously atmospherically moody, enabled Jeff Wall to revitalise a genre that had universally been completely compromised and discredited in modern art: the allegorically intended genre picture in the spirit of early bourgeois naturalism. For Jeff Wall’s works deal affectionately with the exemplary aspects of everyday modern life: themes of social disintegration and anomy, the alienation and loneliness of isolated individuals in a globalised civilisation emptied of tradition. Thus Wall linked the social commitment of documentary concerned photography with the claim to artistic autonomy. The perfection of his compositions and stagings with their many different references to the painterly tradition along with the originality of his unsentimental moralism made Wall the world’s most successful artist photographer of the closing 20th century.

Jeff Wall
Tattoos and Shadows, 2000
Large format slide, 195,5 x 255 cm
Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde
© 2002 Jeff Wall
Jeff Wall
Tattoos and Shadows, 2000
Large format slide, 195,5 x 255 cm
Vereinigung Zürcher Kunstfreunde
© 2002 Jeff Wall