Jeff Wall: Catalogue Raisonne 1978-2004 traces the gradual evolution of Wall's pictorial concept. In an allusion to Charles Baudelaire's dictum on Manet, Wall describes his work as the "painting of modern life," and that life is one fraught with tension but also with luminescent beauty. In 1978, Wall produced The Destroyed Room, which depicted a vandalized space, his first work in the format for which he has become best known--color transparencies, mounted in aluminum boxes and illuminated from behind. His stage-managed scenes, carefully composed but residing somewhere between stylized allegory and naturalism, allude to movie stills and advertising, and mimic captured documentary moments of everyday life: workers restoring a historic building, a janitor mopping a floor, a kitchen flooded with sunlight, the side of a house on the prairie. Above all, he is a master storyteller who brilliantly captures the anxiety of our modern age.
In 1991 he began to add digital technology to his technique, and since 1996, he has also produced large-format black-and-white photographs. Often, he labors for weeks and months over a single photograph.
This book is the first systematic compilation of information and materials on Wall's individual works and contains 120 catalogue entries, as well as technical and historical data, and commentaries by the artist, who is also known for his writings.