Untitled (Rapture Series)

Photo: Courtesy the artist

Gelatin silver print
125.5 x 191.4 cm (framed)

In her films and photographs, the Iranian-American artist Shirin Neshat examines the structures and nuances of power and identity in the Islamic world, particularly in Iran, her native country where she lived until 1975. Untitled (Rapture Series) is part of a group of photographs taken during the production of her 1999 two-channel film Rapture, structured around the allegorical and poetic presentation of opposing images, concepts, and narratives. Exploring space and architecture from an ideological point of view, Rapture is a meditation on political Islam’s position on women and gender issues. The film counterposes the image of 100 men dressed in white shirts moving through the space of a fortress against the image of 100 veiled women wandering the desert. The two distinct groups are presented in different environments: men populate an architectural space while women move within a natural one. As the film progresses, the women move from the desert to the shore, eventually making a symbolic act of departure by boat. 

The photograph Untitled (Rapture Series) alludes to the moment in which the women turn away from the men, before leaving to an unknown destination. “Those women remaining behind symbolize for me the idea of sacrifice. The film questions women’s nature as opposed to men’s, and shows how often women surprise us with their strength of purpose, particularly in moments of crisis,” the artist has said. By exploring each group’s movements through choreographed sequences, Rapture challenges assumptions of gender and confinement. The questions addressed by Neshat more than two decades ago still animate the protests in Iran in the past year, a wave of women fighting for justice following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for allegedly breaching the Islamic dress code for women. 


Group show: Remedios
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba  
Curator: Daniela Zyman
Exhibition 14 April 2023 -  March 2024

Born in Qazvin, Iran, in 1957. Lives in New York, USA.​