The Musée de l’Elysée unveils the unseen work of the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat at La Nuit des Images on June 22 and in its walls until August 25. A unique opportunity to discover the hypnotic work of this essential artist.
Two years after the presentation of her feature film Looking for Oum Kulthum at the Venice Film Festival 2017, Shirin Neshat unveils the world premiere of the eponymous series, a set of eight photographs and two videos. These works were created separately from the film, which traces the story of Mitra, an Iranian director in exile, who fulfills her dream by producing a film about legendary singer and Egyptian diva Oum Kulthum.
The eight photographs, taken in the style of the typical 1950s Egyptian film posters, show the film’s actresses in portraits of Oum Kulthum at different periods of her life and career … Frontal and striking images, trying to capture the mythical personality of the famous Egyptian diva. Each of these large-format portraits (approximately 120 x 165 cm) bears the title of a song by Oum Kulthum, written in ink on the print in Farsi or Arabic calligraphy.
In an atmosphere much more dreamlike than that of the feature film, the two videos, Remembrance (Souvenir, 8mn 33s) and In Trance (In Trance, 9mn 43s), offer us two visions full of emotion and sensitivity on the intimate personality of Oum Kulthum and the mystic hold she exercised over people.
The work will first be presented at Nuit des Images, Saturday, June 22 from 16h to 2h, in the presence of Shirin Neshat. The artist will express herself on this occasion on the multidisciplinary approach with which she designed this project.
About her films, Shirin Neshat recounts: “Like a dream, a young boy returns to Remembrance on the trace of the aura and the voice of Oum Kulthum in a strange temporal and spatial labyrinth. We observe this unusual icon through the eyes of the boy, in the privacy of her solitude as in the face-to-face with her audience. Thanks to multiple visual and musical juxtapositions, the melancholy of an artist in her struggle between celebrity and desire for freedom is essential. ”
In In Trance, she says, “This short video attempts to capture the mystic power of Oum Kulthum’s music, notorious for transcending her audience to ecstasy (Tarab in Arabic), losing all sense of time and space. By exploring the emotional and out-of-body feelings of her fans, literally hypnotized by her voice, we also glimpse the psychological state of the young Oum, when she fears she will not be able to satisfy the hearts and souls of her admirers. ”
Shirin Neshat was born in 1957 in Qazvin, Iran. She lives and works in New York. This project was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Noirmontartproduction, Paris.
Nuit des images 2019
Saturday, June 22 from 4pm to 2am
Jardins de l’Elysée
18, Avenue de l’Elysée
CH – 1014 Lausanne
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