Shirin Neshat, Iran
Turbulent, 1998
Video installation
© 1998 Shirin Neshat
Courtesy of Barbara Gladstone
Selected by: Yuko Hasegawa
Born in 1957 in Iran, Shirin Neshat attended high school in the United States. She studied art at the University of California, Berkley, and now lives in New York City. Since 1993, Neshat has published photo-works that represent Muslim women constrained from the freedom of expression for religious reasons. Neshat represents Muslim women’s strong intentions to communicate depsite their restrictions by showing close-ups of women hiding their faces behind chador, with Arabic scriptures written over their hands and feet. Through the tranquility created by the strong contrast of black and white, the innate intensity or strength seems to explode.

In 1998, Neshat created Turbulent, a two-channelled video installation in which two screens facing each other are synchronized, playing two different images. The screens demonstrate contrasts between two different sides: the one who owns literature and one who does not; men and women of Islam; white robe and black robe; and the words of love and growls without coherent meanings. By creating a strong abstract image of difference, the film is restrained from mere criticism of Islamic culture, allowing Neshat’s images to attain a higher and more universal meaning.
Shirin Neshat