Meeting with Shirin Neshat
On 5 April, 2002, the PRO ARTE Institute together with the Open Society
Institute (Soros Foundation) and the Ford Foundation organized in the
Hermitage Theater a meeting with Shirin Neshat, the American artist of
Iranian descent who is now one of the most popular and original authors
working for cinema and video. The program included Shirin Neshat's films
and lecture. Her works explore Islamic cultures and express the ideas
of loss and memory. The artist says that her films "..give a very
realistic picture of our societies, our culture, our religion, our politics.
At the same time there is in them another, emotional and mystical meaning,
another level... expressing the idea of poetry and beauty which is one
of the aspects of this culture, though underestimated for many many years."
Neshat's videos are black and white and minimalist, like her pictures.
Characters' costumes and symbols associated with religious and social
codes of Islamic society are metaphorical and almost hypnotic. Contrasts
between the roles of men and women in Islamic countries are emphasized
by color contrasts. In each film particular is the key to universal. Instead
of dialogue, the author uses the language of poetic images. Sound is an
integral part of Neshat's films. Exotic music and singing make visual
magnetism still stronger. Susan Deyhim who wrote almost all soundtracks
for Neshat's films helps her combine in her works various musical traditions.
Shirin Neshat's talent has been recognized in many countries. Her recent
exhibitions have been held in the major museums and galleries of the U.S.,
Germany, Austria, Italy, U.K., Sweden and Japan. On 2 and 3 April, Shirin
Neshat visited Moscow; on 13 and 14 April, her films will be seen by visitors
to the Hermitage exhibition of Monuments of Islamic Art in Kazan, Tatarstan.
In the Hermitage Theater