Shirin Neshat, Women without Men
National Museum of Contemporary Art,Athens
Duration: 18/03/2009 - 31/05/2009
Curated by: Anna Kafetsi
The National Museum of Contemporary Art presents for the first time in Greece the new monumental synthetic opus of the international Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, Women without Men, which begun in 2004 and was completed in 2008. The work is inspired by the novel of the same title - banned in Iran - by the Iranian writer Shahrnoush Parsipour, the action of which takes place in 1953, the year during which the coup d’etat against the democratically elected prime minister of the country Mohammad Mossadegh which aimed in bringing the Shah back to power.
It is composed of five video installations through which the artist narrates five parallel stories of women who come from different social classes and who, through different paths, meet in a garden in the town of Karaj. Common connective element of the five characters, the unmarried teacher Mahdokht, the young prostitute Zarin, the two unmarried friends Munis and Faezeh, and the middle-class Farokh Legha, is their struggle for freedom and survival in a regime of strict rules, prohibitions and guilt in relation to the social behavior and the personal self-determination of women. The narrative, as in Parsipur`s novel, unfolds in an atmosphere of magic realism.
The first part of the cycle, tilted Mahdokht, was a commission by EMST for the large scale exhibition Transcultures held in the framework of the Cultural Olympiad in 2004 and belongs to the Museum’s collections.
Shirin Neshat was born in 1957 in Kazvin, Iran. In 1979, at the age of seventeen, she went to the US where she studied at University of Berkeley, California. She exhibited her works for the first time during the early 90s in New York. During the years 1993-1997 she created the well-known series of photographs “Women of Allah”. In 1996 she started using 16 mm and 35 mm film which she transferred to video, and three years later she started creating double-projection installations. In 1999 she received the First International Prize at the XLVIII Venice Biennale with the enthralling double projection installation Turbulent, followed by international participations in large scale international exhibitions and solo presentations in contemporary art museums.
National Museum of Contemporary Art
Building of the Athens Conservatory:
Vas. Georgiou Β 17 -19 and Rigillis street,
Athens (entrance from Rigillis street)