December 2, 2014

Dec 2

Shirin Neshat: Untitled

Shirin Neshat


Bid Online Share: 

SOLD: $17,000

Persian artist Shirin Neshat is widely acclaimed for her portraits, photographs and videos that circle the themes of Islamic religion and culture, as well as displaced female identity. From this formidable body of work, her portraits overlaid with calligraphy stand as her most iconic pieces. Text, particularly poetry and religious treatises, figures prominently in Neshat’s oeuvre. For her 2012 exhibition at Gladstone Gallery, Neshat returned to this art form after a brief hiatus from calligraphy in which she worked mainly in video, producing the seminal film Women Without Men. The present work, Untitled, continues along this vein of handcrafted work, and it contains multiple drawings in ink, calligraphic excerpts and collage.

Given the centrality of calligraphy and text in Neshat’s creative practices, Untitled bring the traces of the artist’s hand to the forefront, and it connects Neshat to both her early and more recent works. Drawings of female hands and flowers spread across the pages with loose brushstrokes and pale washes of color, and newspaper clippings and photographs with ink drawings are taped over some of the original images in the book. The text appears loosely laid down, as if in a burst of inspiration and fevered creativity, and the work brims with vegetal scrolls and floral ornamentation.

Discussing the link between politics, portraiture and poetry in her art, Neshat states, “I thought that – both conceptually and visually – there could be a powerful connection between the contemporary faces of our courageous youth, an ancient mythological text, and illustrations of heroes” (S. Neshat, quoted in C. Wyma, “22 Questions for Shirin Neshat,” BLOUIN ARTINFO, February 6, 2012, accessed via, September 8, 2014). Untitled embodies these connections between the personal, communal, ancient and contemporary. By drawing attention to these issues in her art, Neshat masterfully exposes the charged politics of gender and power that are ongoing in Neshat’s home of Iran as well as throughout the world.

Shirin Neshat (b. 1957), Untitled. Graphite, ink and paper collage on printed book 12 1/5 x 8 4/5 x 1 1/ in. Published and executed in 2014.



© Lyle Ashton Harris

Shirin Neshat was born in Qazvin, Iran, and currently lives and works in New York. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at major institutions around the world, including the Detroit Institute of Art, Espacio Fundación Telefónica in Madrid, the Faurschou Foundation in Beijing, the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Neshat is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; the Silver Lion at the 66th Venice Film Festival; and the First International Prize at the 48th Venice Biennale. Her work is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul.