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Jeff Wall (b. 1946)
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Jeff Wall (b. 1946)

Diagonal Composition

Jeff Wall (b. 1946)
Diagonal Composition
Cibachrome transparency and fluorescent light display case
19 5/8 x 22 x 4¾ in. (50 x 55.8 x 113.8 cm.)
Executed in 1993. This work is number eight from an edition of ten.
Acquired from the artist
Private Collection, Canada
T. de Duve, A. Pelenc, B. Groys, and J.-F. Chevrier, Jeff Wall, London 1996, p. 93 (illustrated).
K. Brougher, Jeff Wall, Los Angeles and Zurich 1997, p. 123 (illustrated).
Munich, Goetz Collection, Matthew Barney-Tony Oursler-Jeff Wall, July 1996-January 1997, p.84 (illustrated; another example exhibited). San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Fact/Fiction: Contemporary Art that Walks the Line, February-April 2000.
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Sale room notice
The dimensions are 19 5/8 x 22 x 4¾ in. (50 x 55.8 x 12.1 cm.).

Lot Essay

"While Jeff Wall is known for large-scale photographs of contemporary everyday genre scenes populated with figures, in the early 1990's he became interested in still-lifes. Diagonal Composition is a tightly cropped image of a dry, cracked bar of soap and a crumpled up piece of newspaper on the edge of a sink, a scene so ordinary that it seems found, not staged. Mounting the photograph on a lightbox gives the image a jewel-like clarity. Due to the vividness of the details it appears to be a documented record of a specific place, and indeed it is the sink in the cellar of the artist's studio. Yet, its composition reveals a flawless banality that is highly engineered and tightly controlled. The camera angle is precisely oriented so that diagonals dominate and destablize the surfaces in relation to the soap bar, which lies in a stable horizontal position. Furthermore, while conspicious grime and stains on the wall and surfaces indicate that this sink is frequently used, the dryness of the soap suggests it has not been lathered for a long time and the crisp newspaper shows no signs of being splashed" (H. Lind, Fact/Fiction: Contemporary Art that Walks the Line, San Francisco 2000).

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