People / Jeff Wall

Artist, critic, educator. Jeff Wall was born in Vancouver on September 29, 1946. He received a Bachelor of Arts (1968) and Master of Arts (1970) from the University of British Columbia, and did postgraduate work (1970-1973) at the Courtauld Intitute, University of London. Wall has taught at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University), Simon Fraser University, and the University of British Columbia. Wall has exhibited widely at institutions such as Whitechapel Gallery, Documenta, the Institute of Contemporary Art (London), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Jeu de Paume, White Cube, and the Vancouver Art Gallery. Wall is the recipient of the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement (2008), the Roswitha Haftmann Prize for the Visual Arts (2003), the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (2002), and the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Art Photography (2001). He was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2002) and named an Officer of the Order of Canada (2007).

Though Wall experimented with conceptual art practices as an undergraduate student and was included in Four Artists (1970) at the University of British Columbia Fine Arts Gallery, he did not produce art from 1970 to 1977. Wall made his first back-lit photo-transparency, the medium for which he has become famous, in 1977. The photo-transparencies are staged, utilizing a cast and crew in a manner akin to film production, and are sometimes digitally manipulated post-shoot. Wall’s work is informed by his academic background, particularly his study of Charles Baudelaire, and also draws on the visual vocabulary of the cinema, photography, and painting. In his art works and writing, Wall argues for the necessity of a pictorial art that can represent the concerns of contemporary everyday life, such as social tensions and changing demographics. Wall’s writing has been featured in publications such as Afterall, Art on Paper, Oxford Art Journal, and Artforum. He lives and works in Vancouver.
Additional information and materials about Jeff Wall are available on request in Art, Architecture and Planning at the University of British Columbia Library.

  1. 03. The Photo Show: Documentation of exhibition
    Christos Dikeakos (Photograph)