A series of hitherto unpublished photographs, for the first time in colour, have been exhibited at Lia Rumma Gallery in Milan; the photographs were taken by the artist while shooting her recent film “Rapture” in Essaouira, Morocco. Neshat has always considered photography as an autonomous enterprise and video as simply an extension of it. The use of colour is restricted to the azure of the sky, the gold of the sand and the black of the chador, corresponding to the stark simplicity of the images and heightening the emotional impact of the photos which reach an almost epic quality. Using a poetic narrative whose outcome is destined to remain mysterious and unresolved, eluding any specific anecdote, Neshat displays a rigour which excludes both polemic and the nostalgia and lure of the exotic; she achieves this by juxtaposing photographs of groups of men and women to recount the paradoxical situation of women in Iran; not only are women trampled upon by the principle of the harem but are forced, in exactly the same way as men, to carry weapons during wartime. Behind the veils of these women hides a femininity made invulnerable by a primordial force; this femininity combines the pain of segregation, pride in one’s own cultural origins, silent dignity and determination in a way that enables these women, as is clear in these photographs, to abandon the shore unhesitatingly on a wooden boat bound for unknown destinations in a kind of silent rebellion.

ARTIST