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PRINT March 2003

’80s THEN

Jeff Wall

BOB NICKAS: When I saw The Vampires’ Picnic in 1991 it made me realize the ’80s were over. In retrospect, how do you see the decade through the filter of your work?

JEFF WALL: I don’t think it’s because of the calendar, but by about 1990 I had decided to move in slightly different directions. The Vampires’ Picnic was part of a group of pictures in which I wanted to work with larger groups of people. It was also one of a few pictures involving imaginary, fantastic elements and what I’d call an “ornate” style. I did this as a vague counterpoint to pictures like Mimic [1982] or Milk [1984], which I see as a kind of neorealism based on things I have witnessed and which have a close relationship to the idea of documentary.

Jeff Wall, 1984. Photo: Ian Wallace.


BN: You’ve referred to the vampires as non–sexually reproducing—they simply overtake other bodies—which made me think of the picture in terms of the end of sexuality

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