Shirin Neshat, ‘Land of Dreams’ (video still), 2019. Courtesy of the artist, Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels and Goodman Gallery, London.
Exhibition

Photo London Master of Photography: Shirin Neshat

FREE
01 – 12 Sep 2021
Free entry 01 – 07 Sep 2021

Please note from Wed 08 - Sun 12 Sep the exhibition is open to Photo London ticket holders only.

Embankment East
South Wing

A special exhibition by the 2020–2021 Master of Photography, Shirin Neshat, presented as part of Photo London, opening from 01 September in anticipation of the fair’s arrival. 

Shirin Neshat presents for the first time in full in the U.K. Land of Dreams, featuring all 111 photographs of New Mexico residents and her two-channel film installation. This body of works marks a significant visual and conceptual shift for the artist, who has turned her lens to the landscape and people of the American West. Land of Dreams” was commissioned for the artist’s major US museum survey in 2019 at The Broad Museum, Los Angeles before making its European debut at Goodman Gallery, London which was sadly cut short by the Pandemic. This exhibition will be an opportunity for London audiences to experience the full installation of 111 photographs and films making up this ambitious project.

Created in 2019 in New Mexico, Land of Dreams is a multidisciplinary project, both fictitious and documentary in nature, that captures the state’s diverse American population. The first film follows a young Iranian art student named Simin, who travels around suburban and rural areas of New Mexico photographing local residents in their homes. As part of the protagonist’s assignment, Simin asks her subjects about their most recent dreams.

The second film reveals a sinister twist to the protagonist’s seemingly innocuous assignment: Simin is uncovered as an Iranian spy tasked with archiving the dreams and portraits she captures, which are recorded and analyzed in a bunker set within the mountains of New Mexico. 

From left to right: ‘Magali & Phoenix’, from Land of Dreams series, 2019. Digital c-print with ink and acrylic paint; ‘Manuel Martinez’, from Land of Dreams series, 2019; ‘Alfonso Garundo’, from Land of Dreams series, 2019. Digital c-print with ink and acrylic paint.© Shirin Neshat. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels and Goodman Gallery, London.

Alongside the films, the photographic installation Land of Dreams comprises 111 photographs of New Mexico residents who Neshat captured throughout filming. Similarly to Simin, Neshat asked her subjects about their dreams, which she recorded in Farsi on many of the portraits, along with the sitters’ names and dates and places of birth. The artist’s practice of applying calligraphy to portraits recurs throughout her oeuvre, and in many of these new photographs, Neshat additionally included technically intricate, ornate drawings that depict fantastical elements of the dreams.

Through making these complex and interwoven works, Neshat formed a deep interpersonal connection with each person she met, resulting in a powerful and encompassing portrait of America.

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with Goodman Gallery.

Header image: Shirin Neshat, ‘Land of Dreams’ (video still), 2019. Courtesy of the artist, Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels and Goodman Gallery.