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.


Current exhibition:

The Gulf Project Camp, 2019, 'Look for Me All Around You', Sharjah Biennial 14, 2019 


Forthcoming:

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades, Map 3, 2016
Sandblasted glass panels, mirrors 150 x 220 cm / 59 x 86 5/8 in

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

Wael Shawky
Cabaret Crusades: Relief the Crusaders’ Entry into Constantinople, 12th April 1204, 2016 (after Eugène Delacroix, 1840, Musée du Louvre, Paris), 2016
Hand-carved burned wood 280 x 328 x 12 cm

Exhibitions

  1. Thumbnail shawkey web image

    Wael Shawky

    9 November 2016 – 13 January 2017

  2. Thumbnail wsha140003 2 6 copythumb

    Wael Shawky: Dictums

    31 January – 8 March 2014

We use cookies on our website to improve your experience. You can find out why by reading our privacy policy. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies Privacy Policy