Shahryar Nashat: Keep Begging
Co-published by Swiss Institute, Kunsthalle Basel, Lenz Press
Edited by Simon Castets, Laura McLean-Ferris
With essays by Negar Azimi, Jordan Carter, Elena Filipovic, Huw Lemmey, Adam Linder, Laura McLean-Ferris, Aram Moshayedi, Hamza Walker
8.5 x 11 in
259 pages, 191 illustrations
Bodies function, fight, and fail. People bear witness to these processes every day, actively and passively, in the flesh and on-screen. But bodies are also unruly: they desire and shapeshift and betray. This oscillation between the realities of mortal progression and everything that transpires in those indeterminate zones serves as the basis for Swiss artist Shahryar Nashat’s visceral, future-facing practice. What Nashat presents to us, the viewer, are depictions of humanness, of aliveness, filtered through ways of seeing that may have not yet arrived. There are hypotheticals at play, although the sensations generated in Nashat’s sculptures and videos point toward primal expressions of desire and survival.
This monograph ventures to articulate the new shapes and sentiments that spill out from Nashat’s artistic output of the last eight years. The book is co-published by Kunsthalle Basel and Swiss Institute, where Nashat had solo exhibitions. But, while the two exhibitions are the occasion for publishing this book, the contents here far surpass them: twelve of Nashat’s works made between 2012 and 2020 are examined across six essays and one conversation, each of which forges a new reading of what is at stake in the artist’s oeuvre. For Nashat, in spite of the endless questions they raise, bodies have answers.