Lisson Gallery

Wael Shawky

Based on extensive periods of research and enquiry, Wael Shawky’s work tackles notions of national, religious and artistic identity through film, performance and storytelling. Whether instructing Bedouin children to act out the construction of an airport runway in the desert or organizing a heavy metal concert in a remote Egyptian village, Shawky frames contemporary culture through the lens of historical tradition and vice versa. Mixing truth and fiction, childlike wonder and spiritual doctrine, Shawky has staged epic recreations of the medieval clashes between Muslims and Christians in his trilogy of puppets and marionettes – titled Cabaret Crusades: The Horror Show Files (2010), The Path to Cairo (2012) and The Secrets of Karbala (2015) – while his three-part film, Al Araba Al Madfuna, uses child actors to recount poetic myths, paying homage, rather than mere lip-service, to the important narratives of yesteryear.

Wael Shawky was born in Alexandria in 1971 where he lives and works. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at ARoS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus,Denmark (2018);  Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Yinchaun, China (2017); Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2016); Fondazione Merz, Turin, Italy (2016); Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2016); Fondazione Merz, Zurich, Switzerland (2016); MATHAF, Doha, Qatar (2015) and MoMA P.S.1, New York, NY, USA (2015); K20 Düsseldorf, Germany (2014-15); Serpentine Galleries, London, UK (2013-14); KW Contemporary Art Institute, Berlin, Germany (2012); Nottingham Contemporary, UK (2011); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA (2011); Delfina Foundation, London, UK (2011) and Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella, Italy (2010). He has participated in the 14th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2015); the 11th Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2013); Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012); the 9th Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2012); SITE Santa Fe Biennial, NM, USA (2008); the 9th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey (2005); and the 50th Venice Biennale, Italy (2003). Recent awards include the inaugural Mario Merz Prize (2015); the Award for Filmic Oeuvre created by Louis Vuitton and Kino der Kunst (2013); the Abraaj Capital Art Prize (2012); the Schering Foundation Art Award (2011), as well as The International Commissioning Grant and an award from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, in 2005. In 2010, Shawky founded the educational space MASS Alexandria.


Recent Projects:

La Chanson de Roland/The Song of Roland: The Arabic Version, Festival de Marseilles, June 22-23, 2019



Cabaret Crusades: The Capture of Jerusalem by Jacques de Molay in 1299 (after Claude Jacquand, 1846)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades: The Capture of Jerusalem by Jacques de Molay in 1299 (after Claude Jacquand, 1846), 2018
Hand-carved wood, paint, goldleaf, 250 x 450 cm / 98 3/8 x 177 1/8 in

The Gulf Project Camp Drawing # 3

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp Drawing # 3, 2019
Graphite, Ink, oil, mixed media on cotton paper, 50.5 x 70.2 cm / 19 7/8 x 27 5/8 in, Framed: 60.6 x 80.3 x 3.8 cm / 23 7/8 x 31 5/8 x 1 1/2 in

Cabaret Crusades, Map 2, (Damascus)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades, Map 2, (Damascus), 2016
Sandblasted glass panels, mirrors 150 x 220 cm / 59 x 86 5/8 in

Cabaret Crusades: Relief of the Siege of Jerusalem 1189-91 (after Jean Colombe's After the capture of Acre 1189 by Bourges,1475)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades: Relief of the Siege of Jerusalem 1189-91 (after Jean Colombe's After the capture of Acre 1189 by Bourges,1475), 2018
Hand carved wood, paint, gold leaf

Al Araba Al Madfuna, Drawings

Wael Shawky
Al Araba Al Madfuna, Drawings, 2015
Graphite, pigments, ink, and oil on paper 29.7 x 42 cm / 11 3/4 x 16 1/2 in

Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa (Drawing)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa (Drawing), 2014
Graphite, pigments, ink, and oil on paper 90 x 130 cm / 35 3/8 x 51 1/8 in

Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa  (Marionette)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa (Marionette), 2014
Murano glass 55 x 10 x 17 cm / 21 5/8 x 4 x 6 5/8 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Carved wood (after ‘Hajj (Panoramic Overview of Mecca)’ by Andreas Magnus Hunglinger, 1803)

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Carved wood (after ‘Hajj (Panoramic Overview of Mecca)’ by Andreas Magnus Hunglinger, 1803), 2019
Oil on carved wood, 250 x 400 x 15 cm / 98 3/8 x 157 3/8 x 5 7/8 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 2

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 2, 2019
Graphite, Ink, oil, mixed media on cotton paper, 50.5 x 70.2 cm, (19 7/8 x 27 5/8 in)

The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 14

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 14, 2019
Graphite, Ink, oil, mixed media on cotton paper, 56.8 x 37.5 cm, (22 3/8 x 14 3/4 in)

Al Araba Al Madfuna III

Wael Shawky
Al Araba Al Madfuna III , 2015
HD film, sound, subtitles

Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbala

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbala, 2015
HD Film, colour, sound, English subtitles 2 hours

Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbala

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbala, 2015
HD Film, colour, sound, English subtitles 2 hours

Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa (Marionette)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa (Marionette), 2014
Murano glass, 33 x 17 cm / 13 x 6 3/4 in

Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa  (Marionette)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa (Marionette) , 2014
Murano glass 51.5 x 14 x 17 cm / 20 x 5 1/2 x 6 5/8 in

Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa  (Marionette)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa (Marionette), 2014
Murano glass 49 x 8 x 17 cm / 19 3/8 x 3 x 6 5/8 in

Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa  (Marionette)

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades III: The Secrets of Karbalaa (Marionette) , 2014
Murano glass 56 x 26 x 17 cm / 22 x 10 1/4 x 6 5/8 in

Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo , 2012
HD video, colour, sound, English Subtitles 60 mins

Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo , 2012
HD video, colour, sound, English Subtitles 60 mins

Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades II: The Path to Cairo , 2012
HD video, colour, sound, English Subtitles 60 mins

Dictums: Manqia I, 2014

Wael Shawky
Dictums: Manqia I, 2014,
HD Video 16:9 ratio, silent 11mins 10 seconds

Dictums: Manqia I, 2014

Wael Shawky
Dictums: Manqia I, 2014,
HD Video 16:9 ratio, silent 11mins 10 seconds

Dictums: 10:120, 2014

Wael Shawky
Dictums: 10:120, 2014,
Sound work, 2013, 23 mins 40 seconds Documentary, 2014, Silent, colour video, 6 mins 2 seconds

The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 6

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 6, 2019
Graphite, Ink, oil, mixed media on cotton paper, 50.5 x 70.2 cm, (19 7/8 x 27 5/8 in)

Dictums: Drawing 13, 2014

Wael Shawky
Dictums: Drawing 13, 2014,
Pencil, ink and oil on paper 50.5 x 68 x 3.8 cm / 20 x 26 7/8 x 1 1/2 in

Telematch shelter, 2008

Wael Shawky
Telematch shelter, 2008,
Video, colour, sound SD 4:3 NTSC 12 minutes 37 seconds

Al Araba Al Madfuna II

Wael Shawky
Al Araba Al Madfuna II, 2013
B&W film, sound, subtitles, 34 minutes 34 seconds

Al Araba Al Madfuna I

Wael Shawky
Al Araba Al Madfuna I , 2012
B&W film, sound, subtitles, 21 minutes

Al Aqsa Park, 2006

Wael Shawky
Al Aqsa Park, 2006 , 2006
Video animation, b&w, sound, 10 minutes

The Cave (Hamburg)

Wael Shawky
The Cave (Hamburg), 2005
Video, colour, sound, subtitles, 4:3, 13 minutes 37 seconds

The Gulf Project Camp: Sculpture # 5

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Sculpture # 5, 2019
Bronze, 73 x 54.6 x 120.6 cm (28 3/4 x 21 1/2 x 47 1/2 in)

The Gulf Project Camp: Carved wood (after Haft awrang 'Seven thrones' by Jami, 1556-1565)

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Carved wood (after Haft awrang 'Seven thrones' by Jami, 1556-1565), 2019
Oil on carved wood, 200 x 230 x 40 cm, (78 5/8 x 90 1/2 x 15 3/4 in)

The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 34

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 34, 2019
Graphite, Ink, oil, mixed media on cotton paper, 57.2 x 76.2 cm, (22 1/2 x 30 in)

The Gulf Project Camp: Carved wood (after ‘Nighttime in a City’ by Mir Sayyid Ali, c.1540)

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Carved wood (after ‘Nighttime in a City’ by Mir Sayyid Ali, c.1540), 2019
Oil on carved wood, 245 x 230 x 25 cm / 96 3/8 x 90 1/2 x 9 3/4 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Desertscape # 1

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Desertscape # 1, 2019
Oil on carved wood, 575 x 290 x 18 cm / 226 3/8 x 114 1/8 x 7 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 5

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 5, 2019
Graphite, Ink, oil, mixed media on cotton paper, 50.5 x 70.2 cm / 19 7/8 x 27 5/8 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Glass Sculpture # 1

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Glass Sculpture # 1, 2019
Glass, 75 x 80 x 200 cm / 29 1/2 x 31 1/2 x 78 5/8 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Mirror (after 'Birth in a Palace', India, Murshidabad, 1760-1770)

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Mirror (after 'Birth in a Palace', India, Murshidabad, 1760-1770), 2019
Bas-relief, glass, mirror, 140 x 190 cm / 55 x 74 3/4 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Sculpture # 3

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Sculpture # 3, 2019
Bronze, 50.8 x 120.6 x 61 cm / 20 x 47 1/2 x 24 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Sculpture # 4

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Sculpture # 4, 2019
Bronze, 85.1 x 135.9 x 62.9 cm / 33 1/2 x 53 1/2 x 24 3/4 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 31

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 31, 2019
Graphite, Ink, oil, mixed media on cotton paper, 56.8 x 37.5 cm /22 3/8 x 14 3/4 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 20

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Drawing # 20, 2019
Graphite, Ink, oil, mixed media on cotton paper, 56.8 x 37.5 cm / 22 3/8 x 14 3/4 in

The Gulf Project Camp: Carved wood (after Khamsa 'Five Poems' by Nizami, 1442)

Wael Shawky
The Gulf Project Camp: Carved wood (after Khamsa 'Five Poems' by Nizami, 1442), 2019
Oil on carved wood, 200 x 200 x 40 cm / 78 5/8 x 78 5/8 x 15 3/4 in

Exhibitions

  1. Wael Shawky: The Gulf Project Camp

    Wael Shawky: The Gulf Project Camp

    13 September – 16 October 2019

  2. Wael Shawky

    Wael Shawky

    9 November 2016 – 13 January 2017

  3. Wael Shawky: Dictums

    Wael Shawky: Dictums

    31 January – 8 March 2014

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