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In Shirin Neshat's photographs, Persian calligraphic script is transcribed over black and white depictions of the exposed faces, hands and feet of Iranian women. In her video works, swarms of women in black hijabs ululate, or a man in a white dress shirt and black pants sings to an all-male audience, while a lone woman sings to herself in a darkened theater. Always aesthetically compelling, Neshat's work is equally thematically ambiguous, never settling on a simple or singular meaning, never offering social commentary within prescribed limits. Though focused on the particulars of sex segregation and the suppression of women in contemporary Iran, Neshat underscores the relevance of her poetic, disturbing, moving ensembles to a broader culture. This monograph documents and provides critical insight into the evolution of her work.
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Shirin Neshat was born in 1957 in Qazvin, Iran. As a teenager, she studied art at the University of California, Berkeley, during the Iranian Revolution. She has since relocated to New York, where she lives and works. Her work has been exhibited internationally, featured in the Whitney Biennial 2000; and at the Serpentine Gallery, London; and The Art Institue of Chicago.From Library Journal:
Born in Iran in 1957, photographer and installation/film artist Neshat came to the United States as a student in 1974. She remained away from Iran throughout the revolution until her first visit back in 1990. This trip, and the visits that followed, catalyzed her exploration of Westernization, Islam, gender roles, martyrdom, and censorship against the backdrop of her birth country. Her stark yet stunning black-and-white photography series "Women of Allah" wherein her models (often herself) are clothed in the iconographic chador, Farsi calligraphy, and weapons won her international acclaim. Neshat followed this success with a series of installation video and film projects that are often mounted on two screens in enclosed spaces, gripping the audience in visual and aural experience. Less specific to the revolution, these metaphorical, unconventional and performative narratives employ Islamic/Eastern references and other archetypes to explore power dynamics, isolation, societal forces, autobiography, and exile. Throughout her work, Neshat not only redefines the critical boundaries of her art but expands the viewer's capacity to contemplate ideas of universal significance. This fascinating book, which serves as the bilingual catalog for an exhibit this spring at Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea in Italy, covers Neshat's entire body of work to the present, updating all previous books on her. Neshat's search for cultural and political harmony can inform the larger global conflicts facing the world today. Highly recommended for academic collections serving cross-cultural and feminist studies and all large art and film collections. Debora Miller, Minneapolis
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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