Exhibition: ‘Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996-2013’ at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Exhibition dates: 1st March – 3rd August 2014

Curator: Hripsimé Visser



Installation view of 'Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996-2013' at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Installation view of 'Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996-2013' at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Installation view of 'Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996-2013' at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Installation view of 'Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996-2013' at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam


Installation views of Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996-2013 at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Photos: Gert Jan van Rooij



What an absolutely beautiful space to show your work. Can you just imagine what you would create if you had the chance!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to the Stedelijk Museum for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Jeff Wall. 'Volunteer' 1996


Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
Gelatine silver print
221.5 x 313cm
Courtesy of the artist


Jeff Wall. 'The Flooded Grave' 1998-2000


Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
The Flooded Grave
Transparency in lightbox
225.5 x 282 x 25cm
Courtesy of the artist


Jeff Wall. 'Invisible man by Ralp Ellison, The Prologue' 1999-2000


Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
Invisible man by Ralp Ellison, The Prologue
Transparency in lightbox
174 x 250 x 25cm
Courtesy of the artist



Jeff Wall: Tableaux, Pictures, Photographs, 1996-2013 presents recent work in colour and black and white, and features the new, previously unseen diptych Summer Afternoons (2013). It is the first major photography exhibition to be presented at the Stedelijk following its reopening in 2012.

Since the 1980s, Wall has produced critically acclaimed work in the form of colour transparencies backlit by fluorescent light strips and presented in lightboxes. He was one of the first artists to make photographs on a large scale. The standard lightbox was created for the primary purpose of outdoor advertising. In Wall’s work, this medium became a platform for his figurative tableaux, street scenes and interiors, landscapes and cityscapes. Wall explores themes such as the relationships between men and women and the boundary between metropolis and nature. He offers social commentary on violence and cultural miscommunication, and conjures seductive nightmarish fantasies and personal memories. These scenes provide the basis for photographic reconstructions of Wall’s experience. They derive their inherent suspense from a combination of extreme realism and sometimes elaborate artifice.

The exhibition hinges on the year 1996, which marked a turning point in Wall’s production: It was the first year that he produced black-and-white prints on paper. More immediately than the lightboxes, the black-and-white photographs suggest new relations of his work to documentary themes and aesthetics. But Wall also orchestrates the content of these images, employing tools borrowed from filmmaking. Wall sees photographs as autonomous, independent images and, strictly speaking, all his works are created using photographic means. At the same time, he analyses and expands the visual language of photography by adding elements from painting, cinema, theatre. In choosing his themes, Wall deconstructs common ideas and assumptions, including those relating to his own work. He has, for instance, also shot many “unstaged” images.

Curator Hripsimé Visser said: “Jeff Wall is first and foremost an ‘artist’s artist,’ he is well- known and much loved by other artists, as well as critics. With this exhibition, the Stedelijk hopes to create broader public awareness of Jeff Wall as one of the artists who uniquely and enduringly defined photography as a fine art medium. Wall’s work is classic, yet entirely contemporary at the same time. His themes are both commonplace and tension-filled. What at first seems straightforward and intelligible is also complex and enigmatic. Wall carefully selects his mode of display to be produced with an incredible eye for detail. The large scale of the images is a natural, integral feature of the work.”

Jeff Wall himself chose the title of this exhibition. It is a reference to the layers that can be found in his work. He says, “‘Tableau’ refers to the free-standing, autonomous object we look at from a distance, often when it is hanging on the wall in front of us. ‘Picture’ relates to that special and isolated image within the entire spectrum of image production available in a culture. And ‘photograph’ identifies it in the technical sense, and as medium, distinct from other ways of making tableaux or pictures.” Wall aims to present each photo as an independent, unique image, intended to be seen hanging on a wall, not as reproductions in a book. As such, Wall arranged this presentation to give each individual artwork the space it needs. The monumental scale of the work encourages viewers to experience the space that is evoked in the images. At the same time, the themes and formal and stylistic qualities of the different images prompt viewers to draw comparisons between them.

The exhibition will fan out across the Stedelijk’s former Hall of Honor, two adjacent gallery spaces in the historic building, and the Van den Ende Foundation Gallery in the new wing of the museum. Jeff Wall: Tableaux Pictures Photographs 1996-2013 was curated by Hripsimé Visser, in close collaboration with the artist and in collaboration with Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria, and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaeck, Denmark. The exhibition will travel to both museums.

Jeff Wall grew up in Vancouver and studied at the University of British Columbia and at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. Since the late 1970s, he has been considered one of the art world’s most innovative contemporary photographers. His work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2013), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007), and Tate Modern, London (2005), among others. The Stedelijk Museum first presented Wall’s work in 1985.

Press release from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam website


Jeff Wall. 'Overpass' 2001


Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
Transparency in lightbox
214 x 273.5 x 25cm
Courtesy of the artist


Jeff Wall. 'In Front of a Nightclub' 2006


Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
In Front of a Nightclub
Transparency in lightbox
226 x 360 x 30cm
Courtesy of the artist


Jeff Wall. 'Knife Throw' 2008


Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
Knife Throw
Inkjet print
195 x 267cm
Courtesy of the artist


Jeff Wall. 'Boy Falls From Tree' 2010


Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
Boy Falls From Tree
Colour photograph
234.3 x 313.7cm
Courtesy of the artist


Jeff Wall. 'Boxing' 2011


Jeff Wall (Canadian, b. 1946)
Colour photograph
222.9 x 303.5cm
Courtesy of the artist



Forum: Jeff Wall – Artist Talk – 01-03-14

As part of the Public Program in conjunction with Jeff Wall: Tableaux Pictures Photographs 1996-2013 exhibition, the Stedelijk Museum is honoured to present a new stedelijk|forum afternoon with an artist talk by Jeff Wall, introduced by Hripsimé Visser (curator Photography, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam).



Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Museumplein 10

Opening hours:
Daily 10am – 6pm
Thursday 10am – 10pm

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam website


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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