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production dates

Milan, Italy
Palazzo Reale
29 January - 8 March 2011

Change Performing Arts and the Milan Municipality Council for the Arts present for the first time in Italy the new monumental synthetic opus of the international Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, Women without Men, begun in 2004 and completed in 2008. The work is inspired by the novel of the same title - banned in Iran - by Iranian writer Shahrnoush Parsipur. The exhibition will run from 29 January through 6 March, 2011 in the breathtaking Cariatidi hall at Palazzo Reale of Milan.

It is composed of five video installations through which the artist narrates five parallel stories of women who come from different social classes and who, through different paths, meet in a garden in the town of Karaj. The common element that connects the five characters - the unmarried teacher Mahdokht, the young prostitute Zarin, the two unmarried friends Munis and Faezeh, and the middle-class Farokh Legha - is their struggle for freedom and survival in a regime of strict rules, prohibitions and guilt in relation to the social behaviour and the personal self-determination of women. The narrative, as in Parsipur`s novel, unfolds in an atmosphere of magic realism.

Shirin Neshat was born in 1957 in Kazvin, Iran. In 1979, at the age of 17, she went to the US where she studied at University of Berkeley, California. She exhibited her works for the first time during the early '90s in New York. During the years 1993-1997 she created the well-known series of photographs, Women of Allah. In 1996, she started using 16 mm and 35 mm film, which she transferred to video, and three years later she started creating double-projection installations. In 1999, she received the First International Prize at the XLVIII Venice Biennale for her enthralling double-projection installation Turbulent, followed by international participations in large-scale international exhibitions and solo presentations in contemporary art museums.


Women Without Men

an installation by Shirin Neshat
in collaboration with Shoja Azari
a project by Change Performing Arts
artistic direction Franco Laera and Elisabetta di Mambro

acknowledgement Gladstone Gallery New York