Mythology, history, and social events have long provided artists with inspiration. For Shirin Neshat (Qazvin, Iran, 1957), emotions and personal life experiences have also played an essential role in her artistic practice.
In this catalogue – published in cooperation with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (Doha) – the artist looks at the connections between ancient history and the politics of the present in work, characterized by a strong visual language that employs photography, calligraphy, poetry, and filmmaking to explore the primal concepts of violence, passion and love that drive human history.
In her work, Neshat bears witness to the capacity of human beings to simultaneously build and destroy what constitutes them and their civilizations. Combining poetic visuals and textual language that reveal the paradoxes of beauty and violence, the artworks displayed in Mathaf’s galleries propose different perspectives on these collective histories. The contrasts and dissonant rhythms created between the individual works are part of the catalogue’s layout, with the viewer experiencing a succession of powerful images and emptier spaces.