December 1997 - February 1998
For further information, please call (029) 227-8111.


"Jeff Wall" is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. This exhibition is made possible in part by the generous support of Lannan Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency in the U.S.; the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada (Ministère des Affaires étrangères et du Commerce International du Canada); the Canadian Consulate General in Los Angeles; and Air Canada.

Purport of the Exhibition
The Jeff Wall Exhibition is currently being held at the Contemporary Art Gallery of the Art Tower Mito (ATM), in Mito (Ibaraki Pref.). This full-scale solo exhibition of the artist's works is the only Japanese leg of an international tour that has also gone to the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C. and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The exhibition has been planned with the cooperation with the Los Angeles museum.

In the past two years, the Japanese public has had the occasion to get to know several works by this Canadian-born artist, as he participated in group exhibitions held at the Yokohama Museum of Art, the Setagaya Art Museum in Tokyo and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto. The exhibition this time, however, is an extensive retrospective, collecting two decades of Wall's masterpieces from major museums and private collections worldwide. The 30 works (37 single pieces) displayed here -- ranging from "The Destroyed Room" to the latest monochrome pieces -- testify to the artist's penetrating eye toward "the society where we live, and our present and future."

A Sudden Gust of Wind
(after Hokusai) 1993
(Tate Gallery, London)

Wall creates his works using actors and actresses on location, as in a movie production, and uses a computer to construct elaborate scenes. Just as painters of past ages composed and depicted historic scenes, landscapes and fashions, Wall portrays our present age fully applying his knowledge of art history and photography. In 1993, for instance, influenced by the Japanese woodblock artist, Katsushika Hokusai, he produced "A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai)," a portrait of modern times modeled after "Sunshu Ejiri," one of "The 36 Views of Mt. Fuji." The work, which seems to have frozen a scene of a film or a phase of an everyday episode, stimulates our imagination to invent our own story.

In 1978, Jeff Wall produced the powerful "The Destroyed Room" -- the first time he used a light box covered with a color transparency, as in a Japanese subway wall advertisement -- giving it an appeal in the style of advertising. The work, which the artist arranged as elaborately as a stage set, recreates a vandalized private room.

After graduating from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Wall studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. He continually posed himself the question of how an artist could create an intense impression, in the fashion of Goya or Manet, by depicting the current age. He also asked himself what kind of work would be significant for our modern society. One answer to these questions was his idea of using fluorescent light boxes with photographs, thus hitting on a new way of expression. As he put it, "It is not photography, cinema, painting, or propaganda -- though it has strong associations with them all."

Mimic 1982
(Ydessa Hendeles Art Foundation, Toronto)

Since then, Wall has continued to picture his hometown, Vancouver, urban life, his stressed-out contemporaries' psychological conflict and other objects mirroring the society in which we live. His international reputation is that of a storyteller for our age.

Several works in the current exhibition are especially important: "The Destroyed Room" (1978, the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa), "Woman and Her Doctor" (1980-81, private collection) "The Storyteller" (1986, Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main), "Dead Troops Talk" (1992, private collection), and "A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai)" (1993, Tate Gallery, London). Visit the gallery and you will thoroughly enjoy a landscape, a street event, a fantasy, modern people's mental distortion and everything that Jeff Wall has expressed in his career, from the earliest work of 1978 to the latest monochrome pieces.

Selected Biography of the Artist

1946     Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
1970     Master of Arts, Department of Fine Arts, University of British Columbia (UBC)
1970-73  Doctoral research, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London
1976-87  Associate Professor of Center for the Arts, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
1978     One-person show at Nova Gallery, Vancouver, at which "Destroyed Room" 
         was first presented
1989     Collaboration with Dan Graham on "The Children's Pavilion"
1996     One-person show touring the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris, the 
         Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, and elsewhere
1997     Participated in Documenta 10, Kassel; One-person show touring the Hirshhorn
         Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. 
         and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Current  Associate Professor of University of British Columbia.
         Lives in Vancouver.

Exhibition Tour

February 20-May 11, 1997
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
July 13-October 5, 1997 The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

(curated by Kerry Brougher, Director of The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England)

Information about the ATM Exhibition

Title:        Jeff Wall
Period:       December 13, 1997 (Sat) to March 22, 1998 (Sun)
Venue:        Contemporary Art Gallery of Art Tower Mito (ATM), Mito, Ibaraki Pref.
Hours:        9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (no admission after 6:00 p.m.)
Closed:       Mondays, as well as from December 29, 1997 (Mon) to January 3, 1998 (Sat)
Admission:    ¥800 General 
              ¥600 Advance-purchase tickets, groups (20 or more)
              Free Students (through 9th grade), senior citizens (65 and older), and
              handicapped persons
              ¥1,000 H.T.P. 
              (one-year High Teen Pass for 15- to 19-year-olds, available at ATM)
Organized by: Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito (ATM) and 
              The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Supported by: Canadian Embassy in Japan
Grant from:   The Government of Canada
Sponsored by: Japan Airlines and Shiseido, Co., Ltd.
Cooperation:  Takeo Co., Ltd. and SOUM Corporation

Special Lecture by Jeff Wall: "Why Mt. Fuji Cannot Be Seen in My Works"
Dec. 14 (Sun) 2:00 p.m.
ATM Conference Hall
Interpretation into Japanese
¥500 entrance fee


The Latin word "criterium" is based on the Greek word "criterion," meaning "standard." The series features artists who are energetically engaged in exploring the possibilities of new forms of expression. Planning is assisted by the ATM Contemporary Art Gallery curator.
Room #9, Contemporary Art Gallery
Admission included in the entrance fee for the current exhibition.

Dec. 13 (Sat) to Jan. 18 (Sun)
Artist Talk: Jan. 18 (Sun) 2:00 p.m.
at Gallery QS, Tokyo
Photo: Mr. Yuichiro Omura

Jan. 24 (Sat) to Feb. 22 (Sun)
Artist Talk: Feb. 22 (Sun) 2:00 p.m.
Dai Ichi-nichi (Hikoki) 1997
(The First Day (Airplane))

Feb. 28 (Sat) to Mar. 22 (Sun)
Artist Talk: Mar. 22 (Sun) 2:00 p.m.
Spice Room 1995

Jan. 13 (Tue) to Feb. 15 (Sun)
One month every year, high school students are given free admission – as many times as they want – to all Contemporary Art Gallery exhibitions in the program called High School Students' Week. Students showing their IDs at the ticket counter in the Entrance Hall will be given a ticket for whatever is being exhibited on that day.

Other special events are being planned in connection with High School Students Week. Please inquire for further details.

A pass for 15- to 19-year-olds, costing ¥1,000, allowing one year of free entrance to all Contemporary Art Gallery exhibitions. It can be purchased at the ticket counter in the Entrance Hall. Please show some identification verifying your age.

Every weekend at 2:00 p.m. and at 3:30 p.m., a gallery talk will be presented by a cafe168 talk member. Please meet at the gallery entrance before the stated times if you want to participate. No gallery talks will be given on days when an artist is scheduled to speak or when some exhibition-related event is planned.

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