Photo London Master of Photography: Shirin Neshat

Thursday 14 May - Sunday 21 June 2020
East Embankment Gallery, Somerset House
Strand, London WC2R 1LA

Shirin Neshat, from ‘The Home of My Eyes’ series, 2015. (c) Shirin Neshat. Courtesy Goodman Gallery

Photo London is delighted to present the 2020 Master of Photography Award to the Iranian artist Shirin Neshat (b. 1957, Qazvin, Iran). The award is given annually to a leading contemporary photographer who is the subject of a special exhibition at the fair.

Over the past three decades, working across photography, video and cinema, Neshat has dedicated her practice to an understanding of the religious and political forces of power that have shaped Iranian and other Islamic cultures. Her art centres on the contrasts between Islam and the West, femininity and masculinity, public life and private life, antiquity and modernity, and bridging the spaces between these subjects.

At Photo London, Neshat presents for the first time in the UK the photographic series The Home of My Eyes (2015), recently on view at The Broad in Los Angeles as part of the artist’s major retrospective. The 55 intimate, close-up portraits in this series represent a shift in Neshat’s practice, as they depart from works that focus primarily on her Iranian society and instead reflect on other cultures. Portraying the diverse people of Azerbaijan, the artist conceived of the series as “a portrait of a country that for so long has been a crossroads of many different ethnicities, religions, and languages.” Additionally, Neshat calligraphically inscribed the portraits, using the graphic element of the text – recurrent in her photographs – to report the subjects’ individual opinions on cultural identity and the concept of home.

The exhibition also include the film Roja (2015) where Neshat – employing a surrealist lens and nonlinear narrative – reflects on her own experience of living in the foreign culture of the United States, tracing an Iranian woman’s nostalgia for her homeland.

In addition, Neshat will present a site-specific photo installation, comprised of a collection of her unseen mood books, studies and finished photographs.

In a first for Photo London, the Master of Photography exhibition will be extended beyond the fair days until the 21st of June.

As part of the Talks Programme Shirin Neshat will be in conversation with Yasufumi Nakamori, Tate Modern’s Senior Curator of International Photography, on Thursday, 14 May.