Shezad Dawood: Leviathan
Opening: Thursday, September 30 at 8 pm
A multidisciplinary artist, Shezad Dawood (*1974, London, where he lives and works) works across various media in order to create complex narratives in which nature and culture are unexpectedly juxtaposed, triggering questions and debates that hint at political, social and ethical solutions to current emergencies. Based on the specific employment of imagery, language and site, his practice often involves collaborations with groups and individuals working in different territories and through disparate disciplines to physically and conceptually map far-reaching lines of inquiry.
On the occasion of his solo exhibition at CCA Tel Aviv, Dawood will present the first six episodes of “Leviathan,” with the following structure, developed in accordance to the schedule of the Center: each day will feature a continuous loop of a single episode; beginning on Monday with Episode 1 and ending on Saturday with Episode 6, which was conceived following a joint invitation to the artist by CCA Tel Aviv and Outset Contemporary Art Fund and premiered at Manifesta 13 in Marseille in 2020. Inspired by the eponymous Biblical sea creature, “Leviathan” is a complex multi-part film cycle conceived and directed by the artist and first presented in Venice in 2017. Each episode has been shaped through Dawood’s dialogue with a wide range of marine biologists, oceanographers, political scientists, neurologists and trauma specialists to consider some of the most urgent issues of our times: climate change, migration and mental health.
Linking tropes from the ancient past, to current and pressing issues and unorthodox temporalities, this 10-part film cycle envisages a future eerily like our present, whose inhabitants are the survivors of a cataclysmic solar event. Each script and subsequent film are written from the point of view of an individual character, giving you an insight into their particular trauma and pathological traits and giving each episode its own personality, visual language and rhythm. Set 20-50 years from now, the larger narrative follows a migratory journey – paralleled in the non-human world – across Europe, Asia, North Africa and beyond, encountering a series of idiosyncratic communities along the way. Taking a global and collective approach, while looking at what is increasingly not only a humanitarian crisis but a wider systemic crisis within our biosphere, “Leviathan” becomes a reflection of where we might end up if a deeper understanding of trauma and climate erosion is not found.
“Shezad Dawood: Leviathan” was initiated by Chen Tamir and is curated by Nicola Trezzi. Episode 6: Ding Ling & Senait is co-produced by CCA Tel Aviv, Outset Contemporary Art Fund, The (He)art for (He)art Program (Francisca Viudes), and Arts Council England.
Image: A still of Shezad Dawood’s “Leviathan Cycle,” Episode 6: Ding Ling & Senait