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Jeff Wall: The Crooked Path
Edited by Hans De Wolf. Text by David Campany, Michael Fried, Luc Tuymans, Lawrence Weiner, et al. Interview by Hans De Wolf.
The photography of Jeff Wall (born 1946) is consciously and profoundly saturated in the social: in the Vancouver art community from which he first emerged, fully formed, in the late 1970s; in the racial and gender politics of our times, which he analyses with marvelous clarity in his huge photographic light boxes that declare an equal status with painting through their scale and their carefully plotted depth and grandeur; in the art history pantheon that informs his staged compositions, from Hokusai to Velásquez and Manet; and in his influence on at least two generations of photographers, most notably the Düsseldorf school (Andreas Gursky once cited Wall as “a great model for me” ). Jeff Wall: The Crooked Path examines the cultural context for Wall's tremendous achievement in photography. Wall himself has chosen 25 of his own photographs, taken between the late 1970s and the present, and has constellated them among the visionary company his work keeps, alongside reproductions of works by Marcel Duchamp, Diane Arbus, Eugene Atget, Wols, Andreas Gursky, David Claerbout, Thomas Struth, Frank Stella, Robert Smithson, Rodney Graham, Ian Wallace, Lawrence Wiener and R.W. Fassbinder. The Crooked Path orients Wall's photography across ten themed chapters, each of which is prefaced with an interview with Wall by Hans De Wolf. Also included are testimonies and essays by fellow artists and art historians, such as Luc Tuymans, Lawrence Weiner, Michael Fried and David Campany.
Featured image, Milk, 1984, is reproduced from Jeff Wall: The Crooked Path.
PRAISE AND REVIEWS
As in an exhibition by the same name, Wall has combined his own pictures with those of this artistic influences- including Marcel Duchamp, Eugène Atget and Diane Arubus- giving context and depth to the elaborate mise-en-scènes for which Wall is known.
The Wall Street Journal
Like many contemporary artists, Jeff Wall borrows tricks from advertising: Early in his career the photographer began displaying works in backlit boxes inspired by outdoor signs. Mr. Wall, trained in art history, was actually after a retro effect: a luminosity reminiscent of oil paint. 'The Crooked Path' (Ludion, 255 pages, $50) assembles examples from the past 30 years, many of which are elaborately staged...Notably, Mr.Wall's frequent allusions - to literature, to Hokusai, to Manet - are rarely ironic. His photographs seek a connection, in what is still a relatively new medium, to what came before.
FROM THE BOOK
"Jeff Wall is often described as a flâneur
--an idle stroller--observing scenes of daily life, singling out characters, attitudes, places and landscapes--elements or 'notes' which, after percolating through his mind, after he has 'dreamed about' them, as he describes it, will be used to construct his images. This experience of reality, the time needed to allow the imagination to roam, together with his profound knowledge of pictorial tradition and his mastery of composition, are what form the richness of his work. Haunted by ghosts of a sometimes brusque reality, by remembrances of painting, objects, places, and literary figures, his works are imbued with a strange beauty, creating this space that lends itself to a shared imaginative journey to remain as if suspended."
Joël Benzakin, excerpted from in Jeff Wall: The Crooked Path.
USD $50.00 | CAN $69 UK £ 40
Pub Date: 4/12/2022
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