Shirin Neshat To Have Her First Big Solo In Africa
Shirin Neshat, the Iranian born artist is all set for her first solo show in Africa. The show is scheduled to open at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg and confesses that she has had a long standing obsession with dreams. As a part of her magic-realism trilogy entitled Dreamers, Neshat is showcasing two new videos that would be on show from 20th August 2016 to 14th September 2016. As she talks about her videos she mentions that all the videos feature the female protagonist alternating within the boundary of dreams and reality. The videos strongly reference reality, however nothing really seems to make sense.
Illusions & Mirrors (2013) the first instalment in the trilogy was showcased in 2014 at La Biennale de Montréal. Drawing influence and inspiration from the avant-garde films of Jean Cocteau and Maya Deren, the black & white video features Natalie Portman and was commissioned by the iconic fashion brand Dior. While talking about the video Neshat says that it is set on a windswept beach where Portman is depicting a woman who is making unsuccessful attempts at chasing shadows; the imagery represents a woman facing her ego and her nightmares.
The new videos however deal with a more socio political theme and concept. As per the artist, in the second video there is a conscious attempt to focus on the theme of “nostalgia, displacement and being torn between Western and Middle Eastern culture.” this 2016 video titled Roja stars Neshat’s friend instead of a popular face and name. The imagery begins with the protagonist standing amidst America surrounded by crowds and then transforms into a desert, in the middle of which she stands. Neshat further adds that the video is in fact about the longing that one has for their motherland.
The third video Sarah (2016) takes place in forest that was almost demolished in the war. Neshat explains the video where the woman walks among the ruins and is still unsure as to whether or not she is alive. In this third video Neshat played around with cinematography and experimented a little more by adding a sheet of glass in front of the lens of the camera which resulted in blurry images. These blurry images helped form an entirely different perspective that has a hauntingly beautiful, almost ethereal quality.
The new videos by the artist would be travelling to the Gladstone Gallery, New York (2017), and then to Dirimart gallery in Istanbul.