Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Shirin Neshat featuring a film and a related series of photographs. Through charged imagery and evocative mise-en-scène, Neshat’s photography and film installations critique the cultural construction of difference. This exhibition marks the first time she fully turns her attention to American culture, dissecting the tense and querying experience of being an Iranian in the United States today. In both the film Roja and a new series of photographs, Neshat confronts the ambivalence of living across two cultures and how it coheres to both personal and political identity. To tackle the ambiguous status of the outsider, she utilizes enigmatic images, haunting encounters, and mystified points of view influenced by the surrealist films of Man Ray and Maya Deren. She mobilizes dream logic to represent the disorienting complexity of this fraught subject position and to make visible the double binds of intersectional identity. Roja (2016), drawn from Neshat’s own recurring dreams, memories, and desires, traces an Iranian woman's disquieting attempts at connection with American culture while reconciling her identification with her home country. Encountering her own sense of alienation from both, the titular protagonist experiences how both the foreign and the familiar can become unnerving and hostile. Neshat undermines Roja’s social and affective attachments—from a cabaret performance that becomes a nightmarish challenge to her identity, to a recovery of familial bonds that turns increasingly frightening. Throughout the film, she estranges American landscapes—the utopic attempts of government architecture and coalmines that evoke the terrain of the Middle East—to situate Roja within an ambiguous psychic and political terrain. Using nonlinear narratives and destabilizing in-camera techniques, the film questions the relationships that tie us to the world and reveals the transcendence of release into spaces unbounded by socio-historical demarcations.