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Wael Shawky at Kunstwerke Berlin, 21.8. – 21.10.12

Written by Sabine Küper on . Posted in Feed the Sense, The Passenger

Kunstwerke Berlin presented Wael Shawkies artwork in a comprehensive and thoughtful style.
Three Videoworks represent the complex work of the artist. Literature, narrations,
sculptures, theatre elements and Video are woven into impressive installations breaking all
kinds of stereotypes. Wael Shawky is interested to visualize the methods of manipulation. The
“actors” in the Crusades are Marionettes, but who is moving the ropes in which hands?

In Kunstwerke you can see the puppets as well. Their faces are made from ceramic, a basic
element of the applied arts in Arabic countries.

Beside the “Crusades, path to Cairo” Shawky produced “Al Araba Al Madfuna” for his show in
Kunstwerke. Al Araba Al Madfuna is a village in the ancient city of Abydos. Ten years ago a
Shaman there promised to cure all kind of illnesses and to make the people find valuable
archeological artefacts. His prophecies made the whole village to get into a turmoil of
action. Shawky uses this reality and mixes it with elements of novelist Mohamed Mustagab’s narration about the Great Chabir and the childlike faith of his followers.
The text is read by adults but on the Video children are used as actors,
incorporating the main idea of the work. It’s an abstract multifaceted face of Egyptian
society and culture.

Cabaret Crusades, 2010

documenta 13

Cabaret Crusades is part of a Triology based on Amin Malouf’s book, “The Crusades Through Arab Eyes”. The Cabaret reenacts Arab chronicles with puppets. Richard Lionheart and Sultan Saladin, puppets in the theatre of history, narrated and narrated again.

Wael Shawky (born in Alexandria in 1971) studied fine arts at the University of Alexandria and at the Graduate School of Fine Arts of the University of Pennsylvania (USA). In 2010, he established the studio space and study program MASS Alexandria. His works havebeen shown at the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003), the 12th Istanbul Biennale (2011), and at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel (2012), among others. Wael Shawky is among the first five artists announced by the 11th Sharjah Biennial, 2013.

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