Dawood, Shezad.

*1974 in UK
lebt in London, UK
2000 - 2003 MPhil Fine Art (Photography), Royal College of Art, London
1998 - 2000 MA Fine Art (Photography), Royal College of Art, London
1994 - 1997 BA (Hons) Critical Fine Art Practice, Central St Martin's College of Art & Design, London


Ausstellungen [Auswahl]:

2010 ‘A Mystery Play’, Plug In ICA, Winnipeg
2010 ‘The Jewels of Aptor’, Paradise Row, London
2010 ‘Cities of the Future’, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai
2009 ‘Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009’, Tate Britain, London
2009 ‘Making Worlds’, The 53rd Venice Biennale, Venice



Date: 2008
Length: 55:00 min.
Format:  HD Video (from Super 16mm and HD), 16:9
Specification: Colour, Sound


Shezad Dawoods „Feature“ spielt mit der unperfekten Mimesis von Genreelementen aus Western- und Zombiefilmen. Die Abweichung wird gezielt als Mittel eingesetzt, um Gattungstraditionen grundsätzlich zu hinterfragen. Durch die Umkehrung der Stereotype, die vage narrative Struktur sowie die Diskrepanz zwischen Kulisse und Figur sticht der verfremdende Effekt deutlich hervor: Fetisch-Cowboys, die die Verkehrung des Cowboy-Fetisches im wortwörtlichen Sinne verkörpern, die Auflösung einer nachvollziehbaren Kausalität, das plötzliche Erscheinen des Hindu-Gottes Krishna sowie der nordeuropäischen Göttin Walküre vor einer Western-Kulisse, die ebenso unpassend mitten in britischer Idylle steht. Das alles wirkt selbstreferenziell, bekannt und zugleich befremdlich wie der zweite Teil von Goethes „Faust“. Darüber hinaus stellt der Künstler die Möglichkeit einer eindeutigen Interpretation in einer provokativen, aber dennoch humorvollen Weise infrage: Ein Filmkritiker mit indianischem Federschmuck auf dem Kopf erzählt von Film Noir, Kameratechnik und Mythen. Doch seine Thesen zum Film vergrößern eher die Diskrepanz zwischen Zuschauer und Leinwand. Durch das Spiel mit den Erwartungen des Zuschauers hält „Feature“ – trotz ruhiger Kamerabewegungen und poetischer Bildsprache – die Spannung aufrecht. 







► 1. Your video has been chosen among over 1700 festival entries to participate in Videonale 13. How central is the video medium to your overall artistic production? Is it complimentary to other media you use or do you work exclusively with video?

It’s a logical extension of my installation and other work. I see the media I work between as a continuum very similar to the different working processes in film production. In a loose sense paintings and drawings become like story boarding, installations become a form of set design, and as an artist you’re always editing and re-editing the overall narrative of a practice.

► 2. Is there a particular theme, concept or problem your art addresses the

My work is really about the layering of various narratives onto each other, for example, in ‘Feature’, 2008 there’s an ostensible narrative of cultural hybridisation, which sees Indian gods and Nordic Valkyries stalking the set of a Western- itself set in the very flat English countryside. With the entry of the zombie film as a further genre rupture, there is an oblique link to Romero’s use of the zombie as a form of cultural critique, particularly of consumerism in such key works as ‘Dawn of the Dead,’ 1978. All of these layers of cultural reference not withstanding, on a personal note there was a definite meta-narrative revolving around the failed interaction between Samuel Beckett and Buster Keaton during the making of ‘Film’, 1965. ‘Film’ for me becomes a precision engineered look at the function of the filmic image and is something I try and interrogate through the intervention of the narrator in ‘Feature’, while at the same time using the main character of ‘Billy da Krishna’ as a more direct silent homage to Keaton at the height of his powers.

► 3. What artists do you relate to or find significant for your own art-making?

Aside from those mentioned above, I’m very interested in the late and less popular films of Alain Robbe-Grillet as an enquiry into narrative and structure. I find Apichatpong Weerasethakul a perfect contemporary counter-part to Robbe-Grillet, while also being interested in everything from Sufi mysticism to early period John Waters.

► 4. Do you think the video medium can address social or political issues better than other art media?

Absolutely, but I think this is a part of a broader structural implication for film in its widest sense. Perhaps a useful departure point for this is Raymond Queneau’s novel ‘The Skin of Dreams’, 1987, which is all about film as a projection of unconscious desire. Film / video, from full-scale productions to the hand-held, becomes a pathological and perverse compulsion to reflect and re-condition the ‘Real’, and thus necessarily lends itself better to the short-term urgency of the political.

► 5. Art can be seen as a mirror that registers and reflects life or as a tool that transforms it. Which of the two positions is close to your own art-making philosophy?

I would say it’s more about subverting it and providing a series of different departure points for a potential audience to re-think their own prejudices and the compartments that they operate from within.

► 6. How do you understand success in an art-making career?

Having the continued and expanding possibility to do what you do, and get away with it.



► 7. What is the most difficult and the most rewarding thing about making art / being an artist?

The most difficult is constantly chasing funding and therefore not devoting as much time creatively to one’s projects as one might ideally like to. Conversely, the most rewarding is often the very difficulties and parameters one runs up against, which force one to think creatively and outside of the box and avoid the problems of overindulgence if it was all too easy.

► 8. What are your upcoming projects?

I’ve recently finished shooting a project in Tangiers, which was of an event I staged re-mapping the various creative interactions of Brion Gysin in Morocco in the 60s onto my own networks there in the present. And I’m currently preparing to go into production on my first full-length feature, which will be a science-fiction film in a mixture of English, Mandarin and Hindi.

► 9. What do you do when you don't make art?



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