Shirin Neshat Film, Video and Photo Works – Christine Ross, Occidentaliser le spectateur : Shirin Neshat, la différence de la différence

[Fall 2001]

This article was originally published only in French. You can read it by switching over to the French version of this page.

Imbued by the question of identity and addressing mainly Western viewers, Shirin Neshat’s production constantly negotiates the variety of perspectives (masculine, feminine, feminist, Middle Eastern, Western, Asian) that come together at the base of “Moslem” identity. This negotiation, however, strategically maintains the Eastern–Western dualism. The specificity of Neshat’s work resides in the conjunction between the identity displacement of Islamic women, on the one hand, and the fixed identity of the Western viewer, on the other hand. The question underlying this text is thus the following: How does Neshat’s work articulate the antinomy of change and reification?

Shirin Neshat is internationally known for her artwork exploring issues related to the position of women within the Islamic society. She first used photography and, since 1997, has gradually moved to video and film installations, often placing the spectator between two opposite screens. Shirin Neshat is born in Iran and now lives and works in New York.