Shirin Neshat / Dreamers / 2016
Goodman Gallery Johannesburg
Goodman Gallery is pleased to announce the representation of well-known Iranian-born artist and filmmaker, Shirin Neshat. For her first solo exhibition with the gallery she will debut two significant new video installations, Roja (2016) and Sarah (2016), including new photographs from the Roja series. We are thrilled to premier Neshat’s first solo exhibition on the African continent.
Roja and Sarah are part of a trilogy of video installations titled Dreamers, which explore the world of women’s dreams. The first video in the trilogy, Illusions & Mirrors (2013), premiered at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art as part of the first La Biennale de Montréal in 2014. In many ways, the characters and their dreamy narratives are projections of the artist in which she reflects on some of her own personal nightmares.
Conceptually each of the three video installations revolves around a single female protagonist whose emotional and psychological narratives remain on the border of dream and reality; madness and sanity; and consciousness and sub-consciousness as they each face their own distinct inner anxieties. The visual approach to the creation of this trilogy has been consistent, with each video being shot in black and white, and the artist using simple camera devices to produce surrealistic and dreamy visual effects. Her two new videos consider the unearthly or dreamlike residue that subsists in the aftermath of real events.
“I have been haunted by the power of dreams for years” says Neshat, “I am fascinated by how in a state of dream, the boundaries in between madness and sanity, reality and fiction, conscious and subconscious are blurred and broken” (2016). Dreamers is based on aspects of the artists own dreams. Roja’s character and dilemma in many ways resembles hers: the fear of the ‘stranger’ and the ‘strange land,’ and desire for a reunion with ‘home’ with ‘mother,’ with the ‘motherland’ that seems welcoming at first but becomes terrifying and demonic in the end. Themes of ‘flight’ and ‘levitation’, implying freedom and ecstasy, is a significant aspect of the Roja video that is a recurring theme in Neshat’s work.
Shirin Neshat is an Iranian-born artist and filmmaker living in New York. She has held major solo exhibitions in renowned international museums – such as the Tate, Serpentine, Guggenheim Bilbao, Whitney Museum of American Art. Beginning with her early photographic series Women of Allah (1993-1997), and continuing through her current practice, Neshat has consistently and fluently probed issues of gender, power, displacement, protest, identity, and the space between the personal and the political with a singular and powerful aesthetic. Neshat has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums internationally, and has been the recipient of prestigious prizes including the Silver Lion Award for Best Director in the 66th Venice International Film Festival in 2009 for her first feature-length film Women Without Men.