A Canadian writer and artist, Jeff Wall was born in 1946. He writes on art history and is best known for back lit large scale cibachrome photos. For such photos he claims to be influenced by the back lit bus stop advertisements. Wall studied at the University of British Columbia and received a Master in Arts in 1970. At the same time, for the next 3 years, Wall moved to London with his wife and children and did his postgraduate work from Courtauld Institute. He has been an assistant professor at the he Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 1974. Two years later, he began teaching at Simon Fraser University. He was also a lecturer, at European Graduate School. He has published articles on many contemporary artists, such as Roy Arden, Rodeney Graham, On Kawara, Ken Lum, Dan Graham, Stephan Balkenhol and more. Since the early 1970s, Wall has been a key personality in the art scene of Vancouver.
Wall had stopped making art in 1970 and continued then in 1977 when he created his first illuminated photo -transparencies. These photographs called attention to artists from history, like Édouard Manet, Hokusa, and Diego Velázquez; or to writers like, Ralph Ellison, Yukio Mishima, and Franz Kafka.
In 1978, Jeff Wall displayed an installation, The Destroyed Room, for his first exhibition at Nova Gallery. A year later, he produced a cibachrome transparency – Picture for Women. Then in 1982, he made Mimic which exemplified his cinematographic approach. From 1991 to 2001, Wall represented a Preface, of a classic novel by Ralph Ellison Invisible Man, that imitated a renowned scene from this book.
Wall’s work goes beyond traditional art he uses casts, crews, digital production and sets. This type of work falls under the category of single frame cinematic production. An example of this is Dead Troops Talk in 1992.
Jeff Wall is famous for large scale images of contemporary scenes populated with people, then in the 1990s his interest leaned towards still life. For example, A Sudden Gust of Wind, recreates a Japanese scene from the 19th century.
Since the 1990s, Wall employed digital tools to combine various negatives into a montage that seemed like one photo. In 1995, he started creating black and white images with silver gelatin. Such works are displayed at Documenta X.
Wall’s work has been displayed in two early exhibitions from 1969 to 1970 – at the Seattle Art Museum in Washington, he was part of a group shoe and also at Vancouver Art Gallery. His first solo show happened in 1978 in Vancouver at Nova Gallery.
Then a number of one-man shows took place in galleries, such as Staatliche Kunstsammlungen in Dresden, 2010; Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, 2008; SFMoMA in San Francisco , 2008; MoMA in New York, 2007; Art Institute of Chicago, 2007; Tate Modern, 2005; Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslo, Norway, 2004; Hasselblad Center in Göteborg, Sweden, 2002; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg in Germany, 2001; Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Ireland , 1993; and at many more sites Wall’s work has been displayed.
Later in 2002, he was given the Hasselbald Award. After four years, the Royal Society of Canada made him one of their members. In 2007, Jeff Wall became an Officer in the Order of Canada. He was given the Audain Prize for lifetime achievement in 2008.