Wael Shawky

Myths and Legends

Serpentine Gallery

29 Nov 2013 to 9 Feb 2014

Wael Shawky

Admission Free

The first major London exhibition of the Egyptian artist Wael Shawky navigated the territory between truth and myth.

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Acclaimed as one of the most exciting artists to emerge from the Middle East in recent years, Wael Shawky featured the worldwide premiere of the artist’s film Al Araba Al Madfuna II (2013). His films, installations and performances explore history, culture and the effect of globalisation on contemporary societies through fact and fiction.

In addition to Shawky’s new film, the Serpentine exhibition included the two films that comprise his Cabaret Crusades series: The Horror Show File (2010) and The Path to Cairo (2012). In these films Shawky uses marionettes to enact key events that occurred during the Crusades. Exploring the notion that there is no single historical truth, Shawky re-tells the crusades from the Middle Eastern perspective, using classical Arabic, the language spoken in news bulletins and in the Quran, to frame his narrative with a voice of authority.

Shawky’s film Al Araba Al Madfuna II (2013), which premiered at the Serpentine exhibition, re-tells Egyptian novelist Mohamed Mustagab’s parables, Horsemen Adore Perfume and The Offering. By using children to enact the stories with adult voices and dress, Shawky leaves an open-ended interpretation to the work.

Alongside the three films, Wael Shawky showcased a selection of flags and drawings, many of them new works, and presented a display of ceramic marionettes made by the artist, that feature in his film The Path to Cairo.

Jake and Dinos Chapman: Come and See ran concurrently at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery. Shawky’s and the Chapmans’s work is linked by their employment of models and marionettes to re-cast myths, stories and historical events.

In 2011, Shawky undertook a residency with the Serpentine’s Edgware Road Project, which was organised in collaboration with the Townhouse Gallery, Cairo and the Delfina Foundation, London. The Serpentine’s Edgware Road Project focuses on Asian and Middle Eastern culture, with Wael Shawky: al-Qurban a continuation of this dialogue.

In addition to his work as an artist, Wael Shawky runs MASS Alexandria, the first independent studio study programme for young artists in Alexandria, Egypt. Shawky has held solo shows internationally, including at Kunst-Werke Institute, Germany (2012), Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2011) and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool (2011); and has presented work at dOCUMENTA 13 (2012).

Serpentine Cinema
Alongside the exhibition, Serpentine Cinema partnered with MUBI, the online cinemathèque, to present a season of films from Egypt. The programme, selected with the artist, showed the breadth of Shawky’s practice with some recent and rarely seen work, together with pioneering feature films from Egypt that the artist nominated as inspirations. Participants and filmmakers included: Wael Shawky, Emad Maher, Youssef Chahine, Islam Kamal, Mark Lotfy among others. The films shown were: Al Aqsa Park (2006, Wael Shawky), Larvae Channel 2 (2009, Wael Shawky), Local Copy (2010, Islam Kamal), TV Juice (Islam Kamal), and ‘Sechoire’, ‘About My Body’, ‘The Story of the Man Named Successful’ and ‘The Story of the Egyptian Revolution Leader Named “The Twitter Man”’ (Mark Lotfy).

 

 

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Exhibition

Jake and Dinos Chapman: Come and See

29 Nov 2013 to 9 Feb 2014

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Saturday Seminars: Natasha Soobramanien and Luke Williams - Talk and Reading Workshop

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In January, the Saturday Seminars focused on re-telling, a key theme running through both the Wael Shawky and Chapman Brothers exhibitions.

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Limited Edition by Wael Shawky*

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Limited Edition by Wael Shawky*

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Horsemen Adore Perfumes and other stories

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Myths and Legends

1. Wael Shawky 2013

1. Wael Shawky 2013

Installation view Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
2. Wael Shawky 2013

2. Wael Shawky 2013

Installation view Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
3. Wael Shawky 2013

3. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
4. Wael Shawky 2013

4. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
5. Wael Shawky 2013

5. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
6. Wael Shawky 2013

6. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
7. Wael Shawky 2013

7. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
8. Wael Shawky 2013

8. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
9. Wael Shawky 2013

9. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
10. Wael Shawky 2013

10. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
11. Wael Shawky 2013

11. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)
12. Wael Shawky 2013

12. Wael Shawky 2013

2013
Installation view, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)

13. Wael Shawky 2013

Wael Shawky

2013
Installation view from the exhibition Wael Shawky, Serpentine Gallery, London (29 November 2013 - 9 February 2014)

15. Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky

2013
Al Araba Al Madfuna, 2012
Video-still

© 2013 Wael Shawky

16. Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky

2013
Al Araba Al Madfuna, 2012
Video-still

14. Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky

2013
Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File, 2010
Video still, Antioc 4, HD-video, colour, sound, 31:49 min

Courtesy Galerie Sfeir-Semler

17. Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky

2013
Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo, 2012
Video still, single channel HD-video, color, sound, dolby surround system, 59 min

Courtesy Galerie Sfeir-Semler

21. Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky

2013
Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show File, Fig Nr. 73, 2010
C-Print on cotton paper, 62 x 41.5 cm

Courtesy Galerie Sfeir-Semler

Wael Shawky

2013
Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo Figure 2 2012
Inkjet print on Crane Museo Max paper 62 x 42 cm (paper size)

Courtesy Galerie Sfeir-Semler

19. Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky

2013
Cabaret Crusades: The Path to Cairo Figure 3 2012
Inkjet print on Crane Museo Max paper, 62 x 42 cm (paper size)

Courtesy Galerie Sfeir-Semler

20. Wael Shawky

Wael Shawky

2013
Inkjet print on Crane Museo Max paper, 62 x 42 cm (paper size)

Courtesy Galerie Sfeir-Semler