April 3, 2014 - Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art - Shezad Dawood
April 3, 2014

Shezad Dawood

Shezad Dawood, Towards the Possible Film (production still), 2014. HD and Super 16mm transferred to HD. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Delfina Foundation and in association with Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art.

Shezad Dawood: Towards the Possible Film
4 April–25 May 2014 

Preview: 3 April, 6:30–9pm

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
14 Wharf Road
London, N1 7RW
Hours: Tuesday–Saturday 10am–6pm, Sunday noon–5pm
Free admission

T + 44 (0) 20 7490 7373
info [​at​] parasol-unit.org


Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present a solo exhibition of work by artist Shezad Dawood. Shezad Dawood: Towards the Possible Film comprises a group of recently executed light sculptures, an installation of large-scale paintings on textile, and two films, one of which, Towards the Possible Film, gives its title to the exhibition and will have its UK premiere at Parasol unit.

Dawood’s forms of expression seem to operate somewhere between the real and the surreal. But, on further examination, the dichotomy clearly provides a creative tool that allows the artist to examine fundamental questions of being and their significance to humanity. Many of Dawood’s questions and investigations are rooted in his own cultural heritage, life experience, and a deep desire to encourage communication between different cultures, people, and even the past and future. His extensive travels and research, together with his deep interest in the fantastical, unusual and speculative, all vitally inform his ever-evolving imagination and feed into the creation of some extraordinary episodes and narratives in his films, in which seemingly otherworldly figures are often the protagonists.

Towards the Possible Film (2014) was shot at Legzira beach in Sidi Ifni, Morocco. In a landscape that could well be an alien planet, otherworldly figures appear as if to threaten the peace. The region’s history and the many wars fought in the 1950s and ’60s between Spain, Morocco and the independent Saharan tribes were certainly a source of inspiration for Dawood. In contrast, A Mystery Play (2010) was filmed in a monumental and elaborate early twentieth-century Masonic building in Winnipeg, Canada. The film is inspired not only by Masonic rituals, but also by the town’s history of having an extensive culture of performance and burlesque, in particular for performances by Buster Keaton and Harry Houdini.

Dawood’s light sculptures on show at Parasol unit stem from his interest in mysticism. For example, The Black Sun (2010) an ultra-daylight, white-neon circle, is essentially concerned with the mystical transformation of the self as represented by the allegory of the eclipse and the notion of the dark night of the soul. His installation of large-scale paintings on textiles—stitched during the 1970s by women in Pakistan—creates a dialogue between two worlds and two realities, both past and present.

The Shezad Dawood: Towards the Possible Film exhibition is accompanied by a full-colour publication that includes an essays and an interview. This exhibition was curated by Ziba Ardalan.

Parasol unit is grateful for the generous support of Dr. Mohamed Hisham el Sherif, Delfina Foundation, Film and Video Umbrella and Op. 50.

Related events:

Artist talk & screening: Shezad Dawood 
Thursday 24 April, 7pm
Shezad Dawood will discuss his practice and current exhibition in conversation with writer and critic Oliver Basciano. The talk will include the premiere screening of Dawood’s New Dream Machine Project II (15 minutes), a film commissioned in 2013 by Parasol unit as part of the Parasolstice – Winter Light Project. Commissioned by Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art in 2013, with support from Arts Council England and a Small Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust. With thanks to LUX.

Lecture: “Alien Culture, and Others
Thursday 8 May, 7pm 
The encounter with difference has always been at the heart of science fiction, even if the genre has not always engaged with otherness wisely or well. Dr. Mark Bould will draw on classic and contemporary sci-fi texts, films and programmes, as well as artists such as Kiluanji Kia Henda and the Black Kirby Project, whilst discussing how sci-fi explores identity and questions of race. 

For more information, contact Gemma Colgan: gemma [​at​] parasol-unit.org / T +44 (0) 20 7490 7373


Shezad Dawood at Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art
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