I guess the subject is almost a cliché, but that doesn't bother me because it gave rise to a picture I thought would be good, and a picture has to be something more than its subject. (J. Wall, 2001)
Born in Vancouver, Canada, 29 September 1946. Graduated in art history at the University of British Columbia in 1970 and completed a postgraduate degree at the Courtauld Institute in 1973. While still a student, he worked in monochrome paintings with a conceptual matrix and compositions of photographs and texts (Landscape Manual, 1970). In 1977, working from advertisements, he produced his first light-stand: backlit studio photos which cite the history of art (above all late nineteenth-century French realism) to explore philosophical problems involved in representation (Destroyed Room) and making the photographic image the painting of modern life. Early in his career he helped define the Vancouver School, publishing texts on the works of artists contemporary with him, until in 1996 he was appointed to replace Bernd Becher in the photography department at the Düsseldorf Academy. In the mid-nineties he produced black and white photos in large format, some of which were exhibited at Documenta 10 at Kassel. Other prints are in color and show the artist’s development towards a pictorial art. His output can be divided into two parallel strands: one documentary (Still Creek, Vancouver, 2003) and the other cinematic. In the latter case production of the images calls for a complicated work of production (set, cast, actors, special effects) and post-digital production (Overpass, 2001). The exhibition was created by Schaulager Basel in collaboration with the Tate Modern, London. In 2005 the Tate Modern organized a major retrospective of his work. In 2006 he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada. He lives and works in Vancouver.
Photograph on lightbox
Silver gelatin print
silver gelatine print
13.12.09 | 05.04.10