Shezad Dawood: Towards The Possible Film

  • Art
  • Installation
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1/5
'Towards the Possible Film', 2014, production still

© the artist, courtesy Parasol Unit

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'Towards the Possible Film', 2014, production still

© the artist, courtesy Parasol Unit

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'Towards the Possible Film', 2014, production still

© the artist, courtesy Parasol Unit

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'Mên-an-Tol', 2013

© the artist, courtesy Parasol Unit

5/5
'A Mystery Play', 2010, production still

© the artist, courtesy Parasol Unit

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Two spacemen with blue faces, a lot of hairgrips and some quite badly made gold quilted suits walk out of the surf on a dramatic red sandstone shoreline at Sidi Ifni in Morocco. These extraterrestrials carry with them not the hopes of their doomed people, but the product of a lot of postgraduate navel-gazing about planes of reality and ideas of otherness.

If only London-based artist Shezad Dawood could take his head out of his arse for two minutes, some of his work could be quite striking. The 20-minute spacemen-featuring film, which gives the show its title, looks intriguing in stills and lovely in the flesh, but quickly descends into self-parody, with some laughable ‘hunters’ engaging in expressive dance stylings and pretending to be jackals before one of them dispatches the two ‘visitors’ with a hammer and the sun goes down. I watched it all the way through twice, assuming that its title hinted at some clever joke about time-based artforms in gallery settings being unfulfilling, or something.

I shouldn’t have bothered. Dawood’s other stuff here, although in lots of different media, is just as inconsequential. Vintage textiles are overpainted with random images. Next to them are serene neons called things like ‘The Black Sun’. They’re not so shoddy as to make you angry, just a bit dispirited, and the ideas don’t feel substantial enough for the execution to be so joyless. In fact, the real themes linking these works are a rather normative academic good taste and a total lack of any sense of humour. Space travellers, it’s not worth it!

Chris Waywell

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