Lisson Gallery

Wael Shawky's 'Cabaret Crusades' at SeMA, Seoul

18 November 2019

Wael Shawky’s 2010 film work Cabaret Crusades I: The Horror Show File is included in the group exhibition ‘Go-hyang: Hometown’ at Seoul Museum of Art (SeMA), Korea - the third in a series of exhibitions bringing non-Westen Art to the city, following focuses on Africa in 2015, and South America in 2017. ‘Go-hyang: Hometown’ aims to encourage a questioning of the idea of ‘nationality’, and a reconsideration of Korea’s understanding of the Middle East through the contemporary practices of 16 artists from the region.

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. Cabaret Crusades I: The Horror Show File is the first installment in Shawky’s Cabaret Crusades series of films, and focuses on the four crucial years of the First Crusade (1095-1099). The title refers to the bloody conquest of Jerusalem on 15 July 1099 by the invading Christians or ‘Franks’ (al-franj). Over 200 wooden marionettes borrowed from the historic Lupi collection in Turin were used in the filming of Cabaret Crusades I. Each marionette was customised to resemble either the European Christians or Muslim armies, and the voices of each character were recorded in Egypt in classical Arabic. The films attempt a retelling and reconstruction of key periods in the Middle East’s history, from its own perspective.

Find out more via the SeMA website.

Image: Still from Wael Shawky's Cabaret Crusades I: The Horror Show File (2010), HD Film, colour, sound, English subtitles © Wael Shawky
Wael Shawky's 'Cabaret Crusades' at SeMA, Seoul
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