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Possible tales
Jeff Wall, “After ‘Invisible Man’ by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue”, 1999-2001

Jeff Wall »

Possible tales

Exhibition: 24 May – 13 Oct 2024

La Virreina Centre de la Imatge

La Rambla, 99
08002 Barcelona

+34 (0)93-3017775


Tue-Fri 11-14+16-20 . Sat 11-20 . Sun 11-15

Since the 1980s, the work of Canadian artist Jeff Wall (b. 1946) has largely contributed to defining or redefining photography as a full part of contemporary art. His practice of the tableau or photographic picture inherits from the history of painting its key principle: composition. The thirty-five works presented here are taken from the nearly two hundred photographic pictures he produced since 1978. Formed piece by piece, the ensemble is both dense and extremely varied, crossed by recurrences and intersecting themes, with an acute sense of enigma. All images are part of a wide range of registers and modes of expression, from pure description to beginnings of possible tales.

The earliest work in the exhibition, a landscape from 1980, depicts a semi-rural site in the Greater Vancouver area; it corresponds to a documentary orientation. The most recent work (2023), through allegory, belongs to the other mode developed by Wall, which he describes as “cinematographic”: those images are carefully staged, sometimes to the point of producing a hallucinatory or marvellous world. A number of pictures partake of an intermediate, “near documentary” register.