Shirin Neshat: "Afterwards" Exhibition
Sherin Neshat is wearing the Doha dress, designed by Azin Valy.
Article from Mathaf.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha
Ground Floor Galleries
9 November, 2014 until 15 February, 2015
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha presents Afterwards, the first solo exhibition in the region by artist Shirin Neshat. This major show is located on the ground floor galleries and introduces a group of existing and newly produced works, including a photographic series inspired by The Book of Kings (Shahnama), an epic poem written by Persian poet Ferdowsi, c. 977 and 1010 CE. In addition to this, the museum has in display a selection of video installations commenting on historical, cultural and political realities on which the artist has focused on for the past 30 years.
This exceptional body of work reveals Neshat’s intention to build relationships between ancient mythologies and contemporary events that challenge our lives. Her vivid poetic expression repeatedly manifests itself in her signature visual vocabulary, which is comprised of photography, calligraphy, poetry and filmmaking. With these elements, Neshat creates powerful narratives that require viewers to decrypt, interpret and position themselves within the work in order to fully grasp its meaning. As viewers move through the galleries, the confrontation with the subjects portrayed becomes inevitable and provokes an emotional tension that places them closer to the artist’s perspective when she took the photographs.
In her photographic series, Neshat superimposes layers of texts and illustrations onto the images, emphasizing the multidimensional aspects of history - past and present, fictions and realities - and thereby creating iconic images. As Neshat said in her interview with the curator:“The Book of Kings is a conceptual and artistic approach to narrating history, questioning the notion of ‘heroism,’ and capturing the emotional and human realities behind the faces of those who stand in the intersection of love, devotion and sacrifice, yet violence, atrocity, and death.”
The work of Shirin Neshat explores the connections between ancient history and the politics of the present narrated through a strong visual language referencing the primal concepts of violence, passion and love in universal history. Using a montage of poetry and images that address the paradox of beauty and violence, the artist proposes different perspectives on these collective histories.
Curator: Abdellah Karroum
Assistant curator: Leonore-Namkha Beschi