Passage (2001), Land of Dreams (2019)
Shirin Neshat is one of the most famous artists of Iranian origin working on USA. In her videos, photos, and films, she explores the role of women in Islamic society, social rituals, states of freedom, and the realm of dreams.
In the work "Passage" (2001), we see a funeral procession moving along the seashore – the shooting took place in the Moroccan coastal city of Essaouira, but the landscape resembles an Iranian landscape. The video presents three parts of the ritual: men carry the body on their raised hands, women dig a grave in the sand, and a child who lays stones around. The artist shows the invisible connections between people and in the ornamentality and continuity of their actions she documents the community structure, both critically and with deep empathy.
This society exists differently than the Western. The video “Land of Dreams” (2019), consisting of two parts, shows a new stage in the work of the artist, who reflex the American society, of which she became a part 40 years ago. In two films, she tells the story of Simin, a researcher who collects dreams of American citizens of different origins, creating their portraits in their homes. In the second film, the story makes a surreal turn, introducing Simin as a spy of the Iranian colony. Gradually, it is becoming increasingly difficult for her to separate herself from the “American dream” of her subjects. In addition to subtle dramaturgy and philosophical exploration, this work of Neshat also has the energy of activist statement. The Dream Land exhibition project also included a series of photographs of Americans shot by an artist in New Mexico.