Shezad Dawood, Viaggio al termine della notte

Performance: 16th September, 8 pm
Assab One – Via Assab 1, Milan
Preview 18th September, 6.30 pm
19th September - 31st October 2008

On 18 September the Galleria Riccardo Crespi will mark the beginning of its third year of activity by presenting Journey to the End of the Night, the first solo exhibition in Italy by Shezad Dawood.

Journey to the End of the Night is an exploration of the value of the written word and the script that is used to represent it, whose semantic and artistic significance links languages and cultures in a blend that is now an integral part of the global society.

Shezad Dawood is an artist who finds his inspiration in the melting pot of contemporary culture: he himself is Pakistani as well as of Indian and European origin.

The exhibition includes a sequence of large format works on a black ground: a mixture of divinities and other figures drawn from Eastern as well as Western iconography, that form the expression of a symbolic or allegorical language shared by the three monotheistic religions.

Figures and messages taken from a thousand-year tradition can also be found in the series of interventions that make up Single Flower, Twin Flowers, Three Flowers, in which script and floral design are brought together on the texture of vintage fabrics.

The heart of the exhibition is Triple Negation Chandelier, a light installation composed by neon inscriptions used to ideally evoke that journey to the end of the night.

In this work the threefold repetition of a basic formula in Islamic culture, the shahada, is not simply graphic, but mixes with the symbolism of the number three, found in all religions, and with the light that makes everything clear, bright, universal.

On 16 September, at Assab One exhibition space in Milan, the artist will present Waiting, a performance which is intended to convey the sense of disorientation typical of the theatre of the absurd.

Shezad Dawood has created a minimalist scenic space in which a dress rehearsal of several passages from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot is performed. The set is dominated by a fluorescent light reproducing the word inshallah (“God willing”), a perceived symbol of fatalism that the artist wants to convey to the audience through a visual and linguistic game, fruit of an investigation of the use of the “word” and its cultural significance.

In Waiting language is made the protagonist through the participation of two children from the bilingual school in Milan named after the Arab writer Naguib Mahfouz, who play the parts of Vladimir and Estragon, the tramps in Beckett’s play. They recite dialogues of comprehension/incomprehension, essential to the performance’s atmosphere of suspense but at the same time capable of building a bridge between different cultures, The performance looks to illustrate the often overlooked but transformative nature of translation; and the text of the dialogues, as well as the performance itself have been developed with professional translator: Zeina Frangie-Eyres.