The Walls

Abbas Kiarostami


The Walls is a new series of photographs by internationally acclaimed Iranian film director, poet, and photographer Abbas Kiarostami. These images are portraits taken of walls from houses that were built in Iran. With surfaces that are parched, cracked, fractured, blistered, and marred, each wall evokes the passage of time. The shifting effects of nature suggest how life is delicate and fleeting, as interstices of shadow and light reflect impermanent movements and intertwined networks.

While walls are typically built to obscure and block the landscape, here they become a ground for reflecting subtle changes in life, and the impermanence of human existence. At the same time, these walls also occupy the role of “figure” with their individuality on display, revealing itself to the camera.

The details found in each image–dark holes, rusted pipes, gutters, cracks, and graffiti–are evidence of human presence, which is now highlighted as an absence. In these photographs, an everyday setting is imbued with meditative essence, which is an ongoing preoccupation within Kiarostami’s practice. Through the delicate interplay between foreground and background, his work connects the man-made environment with nature.