Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Green on Shirin Neshat

I'm sure everyone has already seen it, but I'm behind. Tyler Green is reposting his essay on Shirin Neshat's Tooba. I've only seen Neshat's work in stills, but the solemn beauty of the imagery is inescapable.

Part One
Part Two Green writes:

Neshat's utopia is the simplest of Sufi gardens. It is in virtually every shot of the film. The garden sits at the top of a hill, a single tree, about fifty feet high, surrounded by a brick wall. There are no flowering plants, just the tree in the garden’s center. Surrounding the garden is parched earth, ground that grips clumps of thirsty scrub, neither nourishing it nor letting it blow away. The sky is blue and the few clouds are white and puffy. The land will remain athirst. Only the squared garden provides shade, sanctuary, promise.

The beautiful simplicity of the tableau is Neshat at her best, both in terms of the image she creates and the way she explores a concept. By making the garden the centerpiece of Tooba, Neshat refers to both Judeo-Christian and Sufi utopias.

Part Three to come...


At 2:05 AM, Blogger John Swanston said...

I had the privilege of being in Dunedin New Zealand in 2005 at the time that Tooba was on show there. My sister and I were overwhelmed, delighted, apprehensive at times. It is a must see.


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