02 April 2024

Shahryar Nashat. Streams of Spleen

by Laëtitia Cadiou

© MASI Lugano, photographie Luca Meneghel

MASI Lugano presents “Streams of Spleen”, Shahryar Nashat’s largest solo exhibition in Switzerland. An immersive, multi-sensory experience.

Exhibition at MASI Lugano LAC, March 17 to August 18, 2024

Born in Switzerland in 1975, Shahryar Nashat has become an established contemporary artist. His work is distinguished by a bold and innovative exploration of the representation of the human body and its place in modern art. Born into a multicultural environment, Nashat developed a unique sensitivity to the diversity of art forms and media at an early age. His work, which ranges from video and sculpture to multimedia installations, reveals a deep interest in the synthesis of sensory perceptions and the relationship between the physical and the digital.

Shahryar Nashat ⏐ 17 Waves exhibition catalog

Nashat is known for his ability to fuse traditional art with contemporary techniques, creating works that challenge and expand the boundaries of artistic expression. His installations are often immersive, leading viewers to question their own perceptions and explore themes such as vulnerability, technology, and the changing nature of physicality in the digital age.

His approach is also marked by a critical reflection on the way art is presented and consumed in institutional spaces, exploring the interactions between the artwork, the exhibition space and the audience. Through his work, Shahryar Nashat invites deep contemplation on the human condition, on the links between art and technology, and on how our understanding of the body and identity is evolving in a world increasingly dominated by the virtual.

Renowned for his unique approach to contemporary art, the artist focuses on the human body, its perceptions and representations. The exhibition presents a collection composed almost entirely of new works, where videos, sculptures and installations mingle, creating a captivating synesthetic atmosphere.

Shahryar Nashat, Warnings, 2024, Courtesy of the artist, Gladstone Gallery, New York, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and Rodeo Gallery, Londres/Pirée © the artist

The highlight of the exhibition is the video “Warnings” (2024), shown on a large wall of screens and integrated into the room’s central architecture. This fascinating work combines images of real and virtual animals, evoking both the power of nature and a latent sense of disquiet, all accompanied by an intriguing soundtrack.

The sculptures in the “Bone Out” series, launched in 2019, are equally intriguing. Resembling pieces of meat of unknown origin, they evoke the food industry and the transformation of the body into an object. The fiberglass sculptures “Boyfriend_14.JPEG”, “Boyfriend_15.JPEG” and “Boyfriend_16.JPEG”, as well as the inkjet prints “Brother_03.JPEG” and “Brother_08.JPEG”, continue this exploration of the body, blending organic elements and geometric structures.

Shahryar Nashat
Shahryar Nashat, Brother_03.JPEG, 2023, Courtesy of the artist, Gladstone Gallery, New York, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles et Rodeo Gallery, Londres/Pirée © the artist | Shahryar Nashat, Lover_03.JPEG (detail), 2022, Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles/New York. Photo: Jeff McLane © the artist

Nashat’s attention to the presentation of art in institutional spaces is evident. He modifies the exhibition space itself, covering the floor with vinyl tiles and changing the tone of the lights, creating an environment that is both uncomfortable and fascinating.

The marble sculptures “Hustler_23.JPEG” and “Hustler_24.JPEG” recall centuries-old artistic traditions. Using Rosa Portogallo marble, known for its pink-orange veins and tones, Nashat references the long history of representing the human body in art.

Exhibition views Shahryar Nashat
Exhibition views “Shahryar Nashat. Streams of Spleen”, MASI Lugano, 2024 © MASI Lugano, photography Luca Meneghel

“Streams of Spleen” is the result of a collaboration with Istituto Svizzero, Roma | Milano | Palermo. This exhibition is a must-see for contemporary art lovers and anyone interested in how art can transform our perception of the world.

MASI Lugano | LAC
Museo d’Arte della Svizzera Italiana
Via Canova 10, 6900 Lugano
Phone : 058 866 42 40
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