Blind Window No. 2, 2000

The photos by the Canadian Jeff Wall represent a radical contrast to the snapshot and the qualities of directness and immediacy it conveys. His compositions are meticulously planned and staged over weeks and months, and often then further processed on the computer. With this perfectionist approach, Wall approximates a virtually “Old Masterly” ethos. And in fact – apart from the photographers Eugène Atget and Walker Evans – it is primarily from classical painters that he draws his influence and inspiration, for example Brueghel, Velázquez, Delacroix and Manet.

The “self-illuminating” light box invites the viewer to contemplate the means of photographic spatial illusion. Normally, Jeff Wall says, a picture is devoted to the depiction of space, which extends backward from its surface. The surface is a threshold. The view of a painting is thus like a view through a window. “Blind Window” epitomises this threshold by blocking our view through the window. The light bounces off the wall, its passage into the depths is blocked.

© Jeff Wall

Transparency in lightbox
149.3 × 186 cm
Inv. No. DZF 202
DZ Bank Kunstsammlung at the Städel Museum

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