Fortified Door  Jeff Wall.

Tasks in Photography: Ian Jeffrey on Jeff Wall

In the Spring/Summer 2008 issue of Photoworks, Ian Jeffrey reviewed the artwork of photographer Jeff Wall.

If I took you aside to analyse a neighbour’s door you would, in future, give me a wide berth. But with photographs it is different, for they offer evidence. Not long ago Jeff Wall took a picture, which he called Fortified Door, on a street not far from where he lives. If you’ve had anything to do with plank doors you will know that they usually have three cross pieces to keep the structure together and to hold the screws for the hinges. Wall’s neighbour’s door is no exception. A careful study of the evidence will, however, reveal that the flamboyant metalwork shown here is only decorative. The door’s maker, an artist-decorator of sorts, had tried to pull the whole together with a system of shiny metal studs arranged in double rows top and bottom and also on the diagonals. The system, though, had come unstuck, as you can see, for the artist hadn’t calculated the angles correctly, and hadn’t had enough studs either. And the number (729 1621), which looked like a postal code, is oddly placed – probably to obscure an earlier code partly visible beneath. The mailbox, despite its unusual breadth, didn’t have the height required for certain letters, which had been pushed under the door.

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Published in Photoworks Issue 10, 2008

Commissioned by Photoworks

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