Although Shirin Neshat lives and works in the United States, her artwork explores issues of her native Islamic society, especially the position of women. She uses the specifics of her background culture to create works that communicate universal ideas about loss, meaning, and memory. Neshat’s most recent work has consisted of films in the form of dual video projections. By projecting images on opposing walls, the viewer, who stands in the middle of this work, is engaged in a visual conversation, physically experiencing both screens, thus eliminating the passivity permitted by traditional cinema situations. Neshat’s new film, Soliloquy, which she directed and acted in and is being premiered at the Carnegie International, tells the story of a Muslim woman who is in constant negotiation between East and West, between tradition and present-day pressures.
Shirin Neshat’s photographs and videos have been included in many international exhibitions, including Jurassic Technologies Revenant, the 10th Biennale of Sydney (1996); 5th International Istanbul Biennale and Trade Routes: History and Geography. 2nd Johannesburg Biennale (1997); Unfinished History, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1998) and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1999); and Exploding Cinema, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Heavenly Figure, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Zeitwenden, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, in cooperation with Kunstmuseum, Bonn, SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico, La Ville, le Jardin, la Mémoire-1998, 2000, 1999, Académie de France, Villa Medici, Rome, and 48th Venice Biennale (1999). In 1996 Neshat's work was presented by Creative Time for Anchorage, Brooklyn Bridge, New York. Solo exhibitions of Neshat's work have been presented at Franklin Furnace, New York (1993); Centre d'art contemporain, Fribourg (1996); Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (1997); Whitney Museum of American Art at Philip Morris, New York, and Tate Gallery of Modern Art at St. Mary-le-Bow Church, Cheapside, London (1998); and The Art Institute of Chicago (1999). In 1996 Neshat was awarded a grant from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation.