November 19 - January 15, 2000
galerie jerome de noirmont

exhibition release

The Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont has the huge pleasure to unveil for the very first time in Europe the Rapture project, sponsored by the gallery and never shown before in full, that is the video and the whole series of 12 photographs.


Shirin Neshat was born in Qazvin, Iran, in 1957 and she has been living and working in the United-States since 1974.  She is definitely amongst the most amazing and innovative artists of our times.  Her work addresses the social, political, and psychological dimensions of women´s experience in contemporary Islamic societies.  Although Neshat actively resists stereotypical representations of Islam, her artistic objectives are not explicitly polemical.  Rather, her work recognizes the complex intellectual and religious forces shaping the identity of Muslim women throughout the world.


Rapture is the most colossal work created by Shirin Neshat.  Shot outdoor in Essaouira, Morocco, it involved almost 250 extras, more than 100 men and 100 women, all local inhabitants that voluntarily intended to participate to this creation so close to their cultural reality.  Using again a system of two opposite facing screens, the artist still confronts the male world to the female world.  Men populate a stone fortress, which built architecture embodies authority and the principles of a traditional society ; on the contrary, women move in a natural environment, that are the desert and the beach, thus evoking the human nature and all its weakness.  Thanks to its flabbergasting formal beauty and its complex narrative richness, Rapture will mark on memories forever


Parallel to this video installation, the Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont will present the whole series of the 12 Rapture photographs. Far from being "films stills" or simple "still photographs", Shirin Neshat´s photographs are full works.  It is an independent work, going hand in hand with her film work of which she recreates the atmosphere. With this new series, Shirin Neshat passes a major and decisive turning point.  She gives up the intimate portrait and the use of Farsi (Persian) calligraphy, handwritten on the surface of each of her prints. From now on with Rapture, Shirin Neshat dares to make pure photography which aesthetic and poetic shock is so strong that it dispenses with the even so beautiful handwriting devices.


Since her first preview in May 1999 at the Art Institute of Chicago, Rapture met a huge success in the United States.  After the International Award of the Venice Biennial Shirin Neshat was granted this summer for her previous video, Turbulent, the French and European public should give an ovation to Rapture.