The Affective Feminism of Ghazaleh Hedayat
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 41, Number 1, May 2021
- pp. 106-121
- Additional Information
This article examines the works of the Iranian contemporary artist, Ghazaleh Hedayat. It argues that her turn from figural representation to nonfigural abstraction and consequently to what Laura Marks has called "haptic visuality" demonstrates a careful and systematic aesthetic strategy that attempts to confront and at times even exit representation. It shows that Hedayat's works since the early 2010s offer an affective approach to feminism in contemporary Iranian art that doesn't hinge on representational modes of expression, which are of en susceptible to assimilation into identitarian narratives and inadvertently complicit in various forms of marginalization (gender, ethnic, etc.). Hedayat's affective feminism not only complicates clichéd interpretations of her work as a non-Western woman, but it also materializes a new form of knowledge more in tune with feminism. Focusing on the female body as a site of pain, friction, tension, love, maternality, and, more significantly, as a site where self and its other—both in terms of gender and ethnicity—encounter each other, Hedayat undermines visibility by way of pushing it across the borders of sight into the realms of visuality, haptic experience, and proprioception.