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Jeff Wall and the painter of modern life : modernity, contemporary photography and the challenge of postmodernism

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Jeff Wall and the painter of modern life : modernity, contemporary photography and the challenge of postmodernism

Gibson, Stephanie (2004) Jeff Wall and the painter of modern life : modernity, contemporary photography and the challenge of postmodernism. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis addresses Jeff Wall's contentious claim that he is a painter of modern life , a term coined by 19 th century French poet and critic Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867). Jeff Wall's photographs, apparently a fusion of documentary image, historical tableaux and colourful advertisements, do fit Baudelaire's definition, especially in relation to the idea that the city is an exemplary site for aesthetic experience. And yet, Wall's characteristic cityscape, and his array of social types, are very different from the modernist model, while his very use of photography to "paint" the world around him is a key difference. The possibility of a contemporary artist fulfilling the conditions set forth by the 19 th century poet also demands, therefore, an examination into postmodern art. Wall's work shows evidence of irony, a skeptical attitude towards historical narrative, and a typically postmodern reflexivity. It is how Jeff Wall's artwork stages a series of encounters between the Modern and the Contemporary, therefore, that does indeed confirm the artist's claim to have inherited Baudelaire's mandate.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Gibson, Stephanie
Pagination:viii, 150 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:2004
Thesis Supervisor(s):Sloan, Johanne
ID Code:8172
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 14:17
Last Modified:18 Aug 2011 15:43
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