Shirin Neshat

I appreciate Shirins work very much. A very impressing way to combine personal hand writing with images or rather self and landscape.

Artist Statement:
In 1993-97, I produced my first body of work, a series of stark black-and-white photographs entitled Women of Allah, conceptual narratives on the subject of female warriors during the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979. On each photograph, I inscribed calligraphic Farsi text on the female body (eyes, face, hands, feet, and chest); the text is poetry by contemporary Iranian women poets who had written on the subject of martyrdom and the role of women in the Revolution. As the artist, I took on the role of performer, posing for the photographs. These photographs became iconic portraits of willfully armed Muslim women. Yet every image, every women’s submissive gaze, suggests a far more complex and paradoxical reality behind the surface.

Shirin Neshat (born 1957, Qazvin), who lives and works in New York City, left Iran in 1974 to study in Los Angeles. She stayed in California, receiving her BFA and MFA at the University of California, Berkeley. She then moved to New York, where she married the Korean art curator Kyong Park; the two jointly ran the New York exhibition and performance space the Storefront for Art and Architecture. Neshat returned to Iran in 1990, eleven years after the Islamic Revolution, and was shocked by what she saw. That trip led to her first body of work, the photographic series Women of Allah, consisting of conceptual narratives on the subject of female warriors during the Revolution. Neshat works in photography, video, film, and performance, often addressing the theme of the alienation of women in repressed Muslim societies.

Neshat’s work is celebrated and shown globally. Since 2000, selected solo exhibitions include Shirin Neshat, Serpentine Gallery, London, 2000; Shirin Neshat: Two Installations, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, 2000; Shirin Neshat, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 2001; Shirin Neshat, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2001; Shirin Neshat, Castello di Rivoli, Turin, 2002; Shirin Neshat, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City, 2003; Shirin Neshat: Earlier and Recent Works, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, 2005; The Last Word, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, León, 2005; Shirin Neshat, Stedelijk Museum CS, Amsterdam, 2006; Shirin Neshat, Galeria Filomena Soares, Lisbon, 2007; Women Without Men, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, and Kulturhuset, Stockholm, 2009; Shirin Neshat, La Fabrica Galería, Madrid and Brussels, 2010; Women Without Men, Palazzo Reale, Milan, 2011. Her work has been included in all the significant international group shows, including the Venice Biennale, 1999; Whitney Biennial, New York, 2000; Documenta XI, Kassel, 2002; and Prospect 1, New Orleans Biennial, 2008.

Neshat has been the recipient of accolades worldwide, among them the First International Award at the Forty-Eighth Venice Biennale, 1999; Grand Prix, Kwangju Biennale, Seoul, 2000; Visual Art Award, Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2000; Infinity Award for Visual Art, International Center for Photography, New York, 2002; Fine Art Prize, Heitland Foundation, Celle, Germany, 2003; honoree at The First Annual Risk Takers in the Arts Celebration, given by the Sundance Institute, New York, 2003; ZeroOne Award, Universität der Künste, Berlin, 2003; Hiroshima Freedom Prize, Hiroshima City Museum of Art, 2005; Lillian Gish Prize, 2006; Creative Excellence Award at the Reykjavik International Film Festival, 2008; Cultural Achievement Award, Asia Society, New York, 2008; Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship, New York, 2008. Her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, received the Silver Lion Award, Prix La Navicella; UNICEF Award at the Sixth-Sixth Venice International Film Festival; and the Cinema for Peace Special Award, Hessischer Filmpreis, Germany, all 2009.

Shirin Neshat's Turbulent
In Turbulent, Neshats 1998 two-screen video installation, two singers (Shoja Azari playing the role of the male and Iranian Vocalist and composer Sussan Deyhim as the female) create a powerful musical metaphor for the complexity of gender roles and cultural power within the framework of ancient Persian music and poetry.
Shirin Neshat's Turbulent
Turbulent, Neshats 1998 two-screen video installation.
Shirin Neshat's Turbulent00
Turbulent, Neshats 1998 two-screen video installation
Shirin Neshat's Turbulent
Credits: Shirin Neshat, Untitled: Woman with a gun
Photography Research Detlef Schlich
Credits: Shirin Neshat, Untitled: Woman with a gun
DIT BAVA Visual Art Det Schlich
‘Islam’ defines a relatively small proportion of what actually takes place in the Islamic world, which numbers a billion of people, and includes dozens of countries, societies, traditions, languages, and, of course, an infinite number of different experiences.
Edward Said
Photography Research Detlef Schlich
Shirin Neshat: I approach photography as one would approach sculpting. I’m interested in constructing images, carving monuments. I first develop the concepts by identifying those specific points that I find curious and critical to raise concerning my subject. I make sketches of each frame as I am imagining it and discuss the work at length with the photographer and the model, if we are using one, then we take it from there, often improvising as we go along. As I review the contact sheets, I often crop shots into more effective images, then enlarge them. I prefer to work in large formats, usually 40 x 60 size.
Photography Research Detlef Schlich
Shirin Neshat: I had moved to New York City in 1983 and became involved in running a non-profit experimental art gallery, The Storefront for Art and Architecture. During that time, I organized and promoted conferences and exhibitions for other artists. I was lucky enough to encounter and collaborate with fascinating people including cultural critics, philosophers, scientists, and architects, as well as artists with cross-disciplinary approaches in a non-commercial environment
Photography Research Detlef Schlich
In Islam a woman’s body has been historically a type of battleground for various kinds of rhetoric and political ideology. Much about a culture and its identity can be gleaned from the status and circumstances of its women, such as the roles they play in the society, the rights they enjoy or don’t, and the dress codes to which they adhere. Also, a Muslim woman projects more intensely the paradoxical realities that I am trying to identify. Each image is constructed to magnify contradiction. The traditionally feminine traits such as beauty and innocence on one hand and cruelty, violence, and hatred on the other coexist within the complex structure of Islam itself.
Shirin Neshat: I have been struck by the tradition of tattooing in the Middle Eastern and Indian cultures. For example, women wrote on the palm of their hands for various types of festivities. Later, when I was composing my images that dealt with the body of a Muslim woman, inscription on her skin seemed appropriate. I feel the use of poetry is particularly apt, because literature has historically played a major part in the struggle against political repression. The poetry is the literal and symbolic voice of women whose sexuality and individualism have been obliterated by the chador or the veil.
Shirin Neshat, still from Rapture, 1999. Two-channel video installation, black-and-white, sound; 13 min, dimensions variable. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee and the Film and Video Committee 99.86
“Rapture” is a two-channel video projection divided down gender lines. The male protagonists of the narrative are projected on the left wall of the gallery, the women on the right (Neshat exploited this binary technique in a series of films made in the late ’90s, like “Shadow Under the Web” of 1997, “Turbulent” of 1998 or “Soliloquy” of 1999).
This binary formulation is stressed by the artist’s stark use of black and white (down to the actors’ clothes — women in black veils and robes, men in white shirts and black trousers).
The viewer, meanwhile, is right in the middle, confronted with the constant dilemma of where to focus her attention; she can’t fully grasp the action in one scene without turning her back on the other.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s