May 25, 2016 - Fondazione Merz - Wael Shawky: Al Araba Al Madfuna III
May 25, 2016

Fondazione Merz

Wael Shawky, Al Araba Al Madfuna III, 2016.

Wael Shawky
Al Araba Al Madfuna III
June 11, 2016

Auditorium at Kunsthaus Zurich
Hirschengraben 8
8001 Zurich
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Fondazione Merz is pleased to present at Auditorium Kunsthaus Zurich at 11 am an exclusive first edit screening of Wael Shawky’s new film trilogy Al Araba Al Madfuna III.

The screening will be followed by a conversation with the artist and Abdellah Karroum, curator of Shawky’s upcoming solo exhibition at Fondazione Merz, Turin in November 2016.

Al Araba Al Madfuna III (commissioned by Qatar Museums) was filmed in the temples of Seti the first and Osirion in the archeological city of Abydos in upper Egypt, nowadays the village of Al Araba Al Madfuna. This last part of the Al Araba Al Madfuna trilogy is inspired by Mohamed Mostagab’s short story “Sunflower” and by the artist’s journey in 2014 in the region, where he met local people looking to find secrets of their ancestors. Observing people digging trying to make tunnels underground to reach the kings’ treasures, the artist explores the relationship between the metaphysical and the real, told in the writing of Mostagab and experienced in daily life of the people in Al Araba Al Madfuna. 

Using an artistic vocabulary that plays with narrative structures, repetition, and elastic temporalities, Shawky capitalizes on the slippage of time and the fallibility of memory between lived experience and recorded document. He draws on his experience and the stories of Mostagab, allowing these films to speak to the past history, the contemporary present, and the imaginary future. The journey to make the films connects archaeological curiosity with the writing of Mohammed Mostagab, born in the village of Dayrut, near Al Araba Al Madfuna itself. 

During the event the shortlist of the Mario Merz Prize second edition will be announced. 

This event is hosted as part of Manifesta 11 and Zurich Contemporary Art Weekend, June 10–12, 2016.

The complete film trilogy Al Araba Al Madfuna will be exhibited at the Fondazione Merz in Turin from November 3, 2016 to February 5, 2017 in a site-specific exhibition curated by Abdellah Karroum.
The exhibition, incorporating the screening of the three films, drawings and large installations, will fill the Foundation’s entire exhibition space including exterior areas. The architecture and set designs specially created for the exhibition and screenings generate an original atmosphere drawn from the historical, literary and cinematographic references from which the artist built his stories. The show will be accompanied by a book by the artist.

Wael Shawky is the winner of the first edition of the Mario Merz Prize, an international art and music prize awarded biennially. The visitors’ vote was supplemented by that of the jury, composed of Manuel Borja-Villel, Massimiliano Gioni, Beatrice Merz and Lawrence Weiner, who gave the following grounds for their decision: “In spite of the excellent contributions provided by the five finalists, in terms of quality, deep conceptual approach and precision of the medium used, we have found Wael Shawky’s stance to best meet the scope of this project. His work combines thematic richness, the ability to mingle sometimes intractable issues and their effective depiction, the use of film as language and a surprisingly innovative and contemporary narrative technique. Through his evocative poetic language, studied settings, thoughtful reflections on tradition, courage to eschew a Western perspective to remain in Egypt and relate the great history of the Arab world and the Middle East as a whole, Shawky has shown himself to be an artist with a wealth of inspiration. His approach relies more on the language of art to show up the contradictions that emerge in the engagement between distant cultures and religious faiths than on the literal historical relevance of the events described. In this respect, Wael Shawky’s is the perfect representation of a generation’s specific point of view and as such deserves the award, enabling him to present a new project in a solo exhibition."

For further information please contact: 
Nadia Biscaldi, press [​at​] and Melissa Emery, SUTTON, melissa [​at​]

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