Wael Shawky: Dry Culture Wet Culture

Wael Shawky: Dry Culture Wet Culture

M Leuven

© Wael Shawky. Courtesy of Lisson Gallery.

March 7, 2022
Wael Shawky
Dry Culture Wet Culture
March 11–August 28, 2022
M Leuven
L. Vanderkelenstraat 28
B–3000 Leuven
Hours: Thursday 11am–10pm,
Friday–Tuesday 11am–6pm

T +32 16 27 29 29
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Wael Shawky (b. 1971) describes his artistic practice as that of an alchemist: a mediator between social ideas and tangible forms. His work deals with themes such as identity, religion and history, which may be at the root of a society in transition. The exhibition Wael Shawky: Dry Culture Wet Culture brings together works from three such series: “The Gulf Project Camp,” “Cabaret Crusades” and “The Cave.” All deal with the clash of cultures, the subject of migration as the transition between two states, and societies in development and evolution. For this exhibition at M Leuven Shawky presents two new in situ installations.

As a child, Shawky lived in Saudi Arabia for a long time, where he witnessed the transformation from a society based on a system of nomadism, to a modernised one. This change left a deep impression on him and, as an artist, led to a fascination with cultures and societies that have a dream of development. Shawky compiles the multitude of stories that emerge from this process into overarching art projects in which he addresses social and historical issues in a variety of media: from painting and drawing to sculpture, film and even music. 

Throughout his work, Shawky confronts us with the limits of our own vision of history and the world. To what extent is our thinking affected by our background and personal past? Is there such a thing as objective history, and can it be written without prejudice? And what role does our view of the past play in the development of a culture or national identity?

Wael Shawky studied at the universities of Alexandria (Egypt) and Pennsylvania (US). Currently he lives and works in Alexandria and Philadelphia. In the past he had solo exhibitions at Louvre Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, (2020); ARoS, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, Denmark (2018); Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Yinchuan, China (2017); Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2016); MATHAF, Doha, Qatar (2015); MoMA PS1, New York, (2015) and K20 Düsseldorf, Germany (2014-15). His work has won several grants and awards, such as the Mario Merz Prize (2015); the Award for Filmic Oeuvre created by Louis Vuitton and Kino der Kunst (2013) or the Abraaj Capital Art Prize (2012). In 2010 he founded MASS Alexandria, an educational institution for promising artists active in Egypt. His work is represented by Lisson Gallery and Sfeir Semler Gallery.

Press contact M Leuven: Samantha Fadahunsi, T +32 (0)16 27 29 38 / samantha.fadahunsi [​at​] mleuven.be

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M Leuven
March 7, 2022

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