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The Flooded Grave

A work made of transparency in light box.

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  • A work made of transparency in light box.




Jeff Wall
Canadian, born 1946

About this artwork

Jeff Wall uses state-of-the-art photographic and computer technology to create images that evoke the composition, scale, and ambitions of the grandest history paintings. His works frequently have the formal clarity of documentary photography or photojournalism, but he often relies on staged or constructed artifices. This image is the result of two years of work, during which the artist fused countless photographs of both documentary and fabricated scenes into a single, surreal whole. After taking pictures in two Vancouver cemeteries over the course of several months, Wall built an aquatic system in his studio, crafting the tank from a plaster cast of an actual grave. With the aid of marine-life specialists, the artist cultivated a living, underwater ecosystem identical to one found off the coast of Vancouver. In the finished product, the two worlds are married through a technical process that presents the illusion of a water-filled grave. The Flooded Grave therefore challenges the notion of the photograph as the record of a single moment in time; instead, it is an elaborate fantasy on the subconscious life of the image it projects.

Currently Off View

Contemporary Art


Jeff Wall


The Flooded Grave






Transparency in light box


228.6 × 282 cm (90 × 111 in.)

Credit Line

Promised gift of Pamela J. and Michael N. Alper; Claire and Gordon Prussian Fund for Contemporary Art; Harold L. Stuart Endowment; through prior acquisitions of the Mary and Leigh Block Collection

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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