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In Conversation: Shirin Neshat and Dr Nicholas Cullinan

Past event archive
23 February 2020, 14:00

Ondaatje Wing Theatre

Tickets: £10 (£8 concessions and Gallery Supporters)

Shirin Neshat, Land of Dreams, 2019 Courtesy the Artist, and Goodman Gallery, London

Shirin Neshat, Land of Dreams, 2019 Courtesy the Artist, and Goodman Gallery, London

To mark the opening of Land of Dreams, the UK premiere of Shirin Neshat’s most recent body of work at Goodman Gallery, the renowned artist speaks to Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, The National Portrait Gallery about her first solo exhibition in London in two decades.

Over the past three decades, Neshat has produced some of the most arresting imagery in contemporary art. The Iranian-born New York-based artist has dedicated her practice to progressing understandings of the religious and political forces of power that shapes human existence and has gained a reputation as one of the most significant artists working today.

Land of Dreams marks a pivot in Neshat’s gaze towards the “Western World” and opens the newest chapter in her practice. The exhibition comprises a portion of the 100+ photographic portraits and two video installations. For the first time, both mediums converge into one immersive experience to present a portrait of contemporary America under the Trump administration. Land of Dreams marks the artist’s first solo exhibition in London since The Serpentine in 2000, which brought her iconic early work to UK and European audiences.

Over the past twenty years, Neshat has created large bodies of work as well as feature films, including Looking For Oum Kulthum (2017), which was screened at London’s British Museum in 2018, and Women Without Men (2009), which won her the best director award at the Venice Film Festival that year. In 2018, Neshat unveiled her portrait of Pakistani education activist Malala Yousazai at The National Portrait Gallery.

In addition to directing the opera Aida at the Salzburg Festival in 2017, the artist has had a series of major international exhibitions over the years. These include a recent retrospective at The Broad in Los Angeles (2019-2020) as well as solo exhibitions at Museo Correr in Venice (2017); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C (2015); Stedelijk Museum CS, Amsterdam (2006) and Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum Fur (2005).

Neshat has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Praemium Imperiale Award in Tokyo (2017), the Crystal Award, World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland (2014), the Silver Lion, 66th Venice Film Festival (2009) and the First International Prize at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999).

Nicholas Cullinan took up his position as the Director of the National Portrait Gallery in spring 2015 following his role as Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Prior to this, from 2007 to 2013, Nicholas was Curator of International Modern Art at Tate Modern where he co-curated an exhibition of Henri Matisse's cut-outs at Tate Modern with Sir Nicholas Serota in 2014. Nicholas received his BA, MA and PhD in art history from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and in 2006–7 he held the Hilla Rebay International Fellowship at the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao, New York and Venice.

SHIRIN NESHAT: LAND OF DREAMS is at Goodman Gallery, 26 Cork Street, London W1S 3ND from 20 February - 28 March, 2020.