New York

Shirin Neshat

Annina Nosei Gallery

Images of hand and eye have long been used as synecdoches not only for artistic production, but also for signification. In Shirin Neshat’s photographic work, they take on additional connotative value as they are the only two portions of a woman’s body that can be exhibited in public in certain Islamic countries.

Neshat’s stark, confrontational black and white photographs are executed by others, and the artist herself—sometimes alone, sometimes with other women, always severely garbed in a black chador, and occasionally packing a weapon—is their subject. Although we may presume that Neshat composes these pictures, her gaze is figured less as the one that frames the image (that of the primary viewer, whose position we subsequent viewers come to fill) than the one that, unfathomably, returns the viewer’s gaze. And hers is the hand that has inscribed the Farsi verses that obscure the surfaces

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