Shirin Neshat, Ghada and Sayed (from Our House Is on Fire), 2013. © Shirin Neshat. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery.
January 31–March 1, 2014
Opening: January 30, 6–8pm, with the artist
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Project Space
455 West 19th Street
New York, NY 10001
Hours: Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm
The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (RRF) has selected Shirin Neshat for its new One-to-One initiative, which supports contemporary artists as they create work in the service of advancing human rights, cultural understanding, and international peacekeeping. The Foundation will host Neshat’s latest exhibition of twenty-seven new works, Our House Is on Fire, at the Rauschenberg Project Space, from January 31 through March 1.
Limited-edition benefit prints from the Our House Is on Fire series are available for purchase through Artspace, with proceeds going to benefit a human rights organization in Egypt selected by Neshat.
Following her recent photographic series The Book of Kings (2012) that captured the spirit of activism across the Middle East during the Arab Spring, the Rauschenberg Foundation commissioned Neshat to create a new body of work. As a reflection on the aftermath of the failed revolution in Egypt, Neshat conceived of a new series of photographs and prepared to travel to Cairo. Inspired by the profound sense of loss in a country rife with unrest, Neshat used this new project to investigate the universal experience of pain and mourning on both a personal and national level.
In Egypt, Neshat invited several individuals to share their stories before her camera, culminating in a series titled Our House Is on Fire. Depicting her subjects up close and with a notable directness, Neshat captures the intensity of each individual’s gaze, creating a poignant connection between the subject and viewer. Neshat then overlays the images with a nearly indecipherable veil of text, inscribing calligraphy across the creases and folds of the subjects’ faces, thereby mirroring the way in which national calamity has become embedded in and inseparable from their personal histories. Taken as a whole this body of work compels the viewer to acknowledge the toll of political and social upheaval that results when people deny humanity to those whom they perceive as the “other.”
The One-to-One initiative builds on Robert Rauschenberg’s career-long interest in using his art, often in the form of prints, to raise awareness and provide philanthropic support for the social causes that were most important to him.
In his 1984 “Tobago Statement,” Rauschenberg wrote, ”I feel strong in my beliefs, based on my varied and widely traveled collaborations, that a one-to-one contact through art contains potent peaceful powers and is the most non-elitist way to share exotic and common information, seducing us into creative mutual understandings for the benefit of all.”
About the Rauschenberg Project Space
The Rauschenberg Project Space is owned and operated by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation to share unique aspects of Robert Rauschenberg’s legacy, showcase the work of RRF grantees, and create a connection to the Captiva-based Rauschenberg Residency. The foundation was established by Robert Rauschenberg to show how art can change the world. In this spirit, the foundation supports wide-ranging philanthropic initiatives and artistic endeavors that are made in the fearless and innovative spirit with which Rauschenberg approached his own life and work.
About Shirin Neshat
Iranian-born artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat has had numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums worldwide, including the Detroit Institute of Arts; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; the Serpentine Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. She is the recipient of various awards, including the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum, Davos (2014); Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale (1999); the Hiroshima Freedom Prize (2005); and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2006). In 2009, Neshat directed her first feature-length film, Women Without Men, which received the Silver Lion for Best Direction at the Venice International Film Festival. Declared Artist of the Decade in 2010 by The Huffington Post, Neshat is represented by Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.
Nick Sifuentes, BerlinRosen Public Affairs
T +1 310 866 1692 / [email protected]