Private View: Shirin Neshat

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The Independent Online

Shirin Neshat is an Iranian born video artist whose work has been little seen in this country, though in the last couple of weeks that has changed with exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery in London and the Fruitmarket in Edinburgh, both of which include screenings of Turbulent, probably her finest work to date.

Shirin Neshat is an Iranian born video artist whose work has been little seen in this country, though in the last couple of weeks that has changed with exhibitions at the Serpentine Gallery in London and the Fruitmarket in Edinburgh, both of which include screenings of Turbulent, probably her finest work to date.

It is an extraordinary film, or rather pair of films shown simultaneously on large screens, one at each end of a blackened room. The viewer enters between them, into an ambiguous empty space sandwiched between the action on the screens to left and right: caught somewhere between the two, betwixt thought and reality. You don't watch the films, you become a part of them.

In Turbulent the action balances a male and female singer, an appreciative audience and an empty auditorium, an aching love song and a litany of calls and wails. The specific context for these images is the Muslim law that forbids women from singing in public, but the wider themes are the relationship between men and women and East and West.

The Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2 (0207-402 6075); until 3 Sept

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