Goodman Gallery presents the UK premiere for Shirin Neshat’s most recent work, The Fury, comprising a double-channel video installation and a series of black and white photographs.
Shot in June 2022, The Fury seeks to capture the Zeitgeist: a sense of foreboding and dread sparked by the resurgence of fascism that we are witnessing.
While The Fury can be viewed as a continuation of Neshat's exploration of the female body in the context of theocratic politics and gender apartheid of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its unfolding in New York City drives home its international charge.
The Fury's photographic subjects are women of all races, creeds, and ethnicities. Their bodies are abused, sometimes mutilated and bear physical signs of social alienation. The message is clear: the bedrock of power and authoritarianism is the subjugation and control of the female body.
The video installation cautions viewers against a reductionist identity-driven reading of the work, referencing two classic cinematic works of the post-war era: Pasolini's Saló and Liliana Cavani's The Night Porter. Neshat's protagonist occupies the social margins without future prospects. She is physically displaced and mentally disturbed, bringing her wounds and traumas with her to the new world. While walking down the streets of Brooklyn, she relives in the horrors of her past. From the street's vantage point, she is one among many in her cocoon, alienated and atomized.
Throughout her practice, Neshat returns to the power and suppression of women without portraying her subjects as victims. The Fury continues this career-long inquiry into the role of the female body, notably explored in her acclaimed 1990s work, the photographic series Women of Allah (1994-1997). In this early work, the artist directly references the 1979 Islamic Revolution, using the symbol of the veil to capture the paradox of conviction, submission and violence. In The Fury, the protagonist's silent scream is caught like a virus through empathy. It is a pain that is known, felt, and shared. It is the fury against power everywhere, encircling people.
Shirin Neshat (b. 1957, Qazvin, Iran) is a New-York based artist and filmmaker. Her practice employs poetic imagery to engage with themes of gender and society, the individual and the collective and the dialectical relationship between past and present, all through the lens of her personal experiences of belonging and exile.
Major exhibitions include: The Fury (2023) at Fotografiska Stockholm; Land of Dreams (2022) at The Museum of Contemporary Art Toronto, which later toured to SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico; a 2019 retrospective titled, Shirin Neshat: I Will Greet the Sun Again at The Broad, Los Angeles, which has since been exhibited at The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in the US.
Throughout her career, Neshat has had solo exhibitions around the world, including a major mid-career retrospective at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2013 as well as exhibitions at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Serpentine Gallery, London; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.
Neshat has directed three feature-length films: Land of Dreams (2021) which premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Looking For Oum Kulthum (2017) and Women Without Men (2009), which received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director at the 66th Venice International Film Festival.
In addition to making its UK debut at Goodman Gallery in London, a virtual reality version of The Fury will be shown concurrently to this exhibition as part of the 2023 London Film Festival (6-23 October).