Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall: Catalogue Raisonne 1978-2004.
Photographs by Jeff Wall. Edited by Theodora Vischer and Heidi Naef. Essay by Jean-Francois Chevrier.
Steidl / Schaulager, Gottingen, 2005. 500 pp., 120 color and 92 duotone illustrations, 9¾x11¾”.

Jeff_WallIn tandem with a major retrospective exhibition that opened in April at Schaulager Basel in Switzerland, and currently showing at the Tate Modern in London, there are at least three new book titles out that showcase the photographic work of Jeff Wall. In scope and detail, Jeff Wall: Catalogue Raisonné 1978–2004 is by far the most comprehensive and systematic collection of Wall’s distinct photographs and writings. This is a monster of a book, with nearly 500 pages. Since 1978, Wall has created about 120 images, and all of them are presented here in chronological order. This format enables the viewer to see both the evolution of his ideas and the consistency of his approach throughout the last 25 years, starting with his first large-scale light-box transparency The Destroyed Room, 1978 and ending with A view from an apartment, 2004–05. With his staged “snapshots” of primarily urban life, he creates a credible world that blurs the line between staged and documentary photography. Half of the book is dedicated to just the images themselves, and the other half consists of explanatory notes on each photograph, four short essays by Jeff Wall, pages of exhibition history and an indispensable bibliography of literature by and about Jeff Wall. The extensive annotations on each image include year, medium, size, edition, owner or collection, featured exhibitions, noted texts, technical notes and general insight into the piece. This meticulously researched book is the definitive source on Jeff Wall. – Larissa Leclair

Originally published in the Photo-eye Booklist, Winter 2005.