Jeff Wall

Jeu de Paume

Like the chameleon we remember from childhood picture books, whose color modulates to match the background, the light-box Jeff Wall has unswervingly employed in his work since 1977 has changed over the years, or rather our perception of it has. Evocative of technology and advertising at the end of the ’70s, emblematic of “photoconceptualism” in the ’80s, the light-box has today acquired a virtual patina. Indeed, as a familiar, almost conventional element in the repertory of contemporary art, it can even seem somewhat dated (a sign, ironically, of its relative youth). Given all this, one may well wonder that Wall has never replaced it with a less cumbersome means of presenting his work, something less dependent on the artist’s hand, such as the flat video screens showing digitized masterpieces that will decorate Bill Gates’ housing complex (even here in France we’ve been forced to hear all

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