Shirin Neshat Explores Poetry, Revolution, the Outsider at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Sometimes it takes an outsider to understand the complexities of society. Shirin Neshat: I will greet the sun, which can now be seen through May 16 at the Museum of Modern Art in Fort Worth, exploring cultural nuances with an exile look.
Shirin Neshat, organized by and originating in The Broad, Los Angeles: I Will Greet the Sun, is an overview of 30 years of Neshat’s career. Ed Schad, curator at The Broad and a native of Texas, curated the exhibition.
Neshat was born in Qazin, Iran and moved to Los Angeles in 1975 at the age of 17. She studied art at UC Berkeley, eventually moved to New York and worked with her then-husband on the Storefront for Art and Architecture for a decade.
In 1990 she returned to her homeland after the death of Ayatollah Khomeini. The cultural changes from what she remembered as a child shocked her.
“When she returned to New York, she had to struggle with so many elements of her identity as an Iranian, a Persian, a person from this country who presented herself to the world through the lens of the Islamic Republic,” said Schad.
Her shock inspired her to create Women of Allah, a work that reflects her experience with Iranian women and the concept of femininity in an Islamic fundamentalist society. She identified with women who were proactive, trying to understand martyrdom, and reflecting on the complicated identities of Iranian women.
In Untitled, the hand of a woman covered in writing is held to her lips.
“What Shirin is doing here is very subtle because on the one hand it draws attention to the mouth in a very sensual way, but also blocks it, and that is very central to the experience of the women Shirin is thinking about in this photo” Said Schad.
© Shirin Neshat / Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels
Shirin Neshat, Untitled (Women of Allah), 1996.
The script, however, comes from a poem by Forugh Farrokhzad, a controversial Iranian feminist poet. The title of the exhibition is borrowed from a poem by Farrokhzad.
Neshat ended up feeling comfortable in Iran and even created art while in the country. When she left Iran in 1995, she was interrogated at the airport and believed to be someone of the same name who led a splinter cell of anti-Islamic militants in the United States.
“The interrogation was so intense that it changed Shirin’s life. She never returned to Iran. This exile was initially chosen by herself and later made safer by her fame as an artist and the criticism of her work by the Islamic Republic, ”said Schad.
As an exile in New York, she used Persian history and literature to reflect on gender, politics and roots. She started working in film.
“When she turned to the video – and that was very innovative and is still innovative – she decides to break apart the idea of a single projection surface. She doesn’t want a viewer to be passive in her video work. She wants them to constantly move between realities, ”said Schad.
Turbulent, one of her earliest films, was made on a tight budget with cardboard cutouts available for viewers. The film shows a man who sings freely in front of an audience. His performance is in contrast to a complicated, sweeping vocal performance by women.
“The focus here is on the fact that the woman in Turbulent is not allowed to sing in public. She sings alone, ”said Schad.
Filmmaking changed the way they approach photography. “She wanted to bring these haunting experiences to the galleries,” said Schad.
She brought this immersive quality with her to explore the concept of revolution. The Book of Kings is their answer to the Green Movement.
“Four years later she would do a series of papers on the experiences of the Green Movement in which she really wanted to know what revolution means and what revolution feels like,” said Schad.
Neshat created a series of photographs of Egyptians who lost relatives, some of whom were children, during the brutal crackdown on the Arab Spring. Handwritten poems are tiny and represent the quality of grief.
“The suggestion is that these people’s emotions are so profound that they almost go beyond their ability to express themselves, to speak, almost fall silent in grief,” said Schad.
Copyright Shirin Neshat, courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels
Shirin Neshat, Land of Dreams, 2019, Video Still
Her most recent work, Land of Dreams, is a multimedia project inspired by her immigrant status, driven from her homeland, and considered an outsider in the nation she lives in. The central character of the project is a nomad artist who travels through New Mexico, taking portraits and asking people about their latest dreams.
Land of Dreams is the culmination of an emotional journey Neshat took after living in America longer than Iran.
“After all these years I still have the feeling that there is still a distance between me and America, but at the same time I see America as my home and a country that I value for its values, a place of democracy, a county that really was A land of dreams that welcomed displaced people and a land built with the blood of immigrants, ”said Neshat.
Learn more: https://www.themodern.org/exhibition/shirin-neshat-i-will-greet-sun-again