• Past Exhibitions Wael Shawky
    Past Exhibitions Wael Shawky

    Wael Shawky: Crusades and Other Stories

    17 March - 16 August 2015

Wael Shawky produces spectacular film series based on literature and historical narratives, using a visual language that mixes fictional storytelling and documentary styles.

The exhibition presents two newly completed film trilogies, each inspired by stories and scripts of literature; Cabaret Crusades (2010-2014) draws on Amin Maalouf’s novel The Crusades through Arab Eyes (1983) while Al Araba Al Madfuna (2012-2015) collages the stories of Mohamed Mustagab with the artists experience living in Upper Egypt. Over fifty ceramic and glass marionettes from the Cabaret Crusades, and drawings from both series share insight on the making of the films.

The architecture and scenography produced for Mathaf creates an original atmosphere that combine the artist’s references of history, literature, and cinema, through which other stories are imagined. A large vitrine of glass marionettes and drawings from Cabaret Crusades sets this stage, leading to the six films screening across the ground floor galleries. This process of telling stories and fictionalizing history through these layers creates a new story of the fight for power that is still present today.

Wael Shawky was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1971. His practice spanning video, drawing, and performance are in-depth productions about the way history and mythology are written, offering crucial perspectives on contemporary narratives of uncertainty and change. Shawky is a major artist of his generation, developing an original art vocabulary dealing with global aesthetic and political issues. His work is exhibited internationally, most recently in solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York (2015); K20, Düsseldorf (2014); Serpentine Gallery, London (2013); KW Berlin (2012); and large scale group exhibitions including Sharjah Biennial (2013); and dOCUMENTA (13) (2012). His work is collected by public institutions such as MoMA, New York, MACBA, Barcelona, and Qatar Museums, Doha.