Shezad Dawood: Integrations
The surfaces of intense fluorescent colors geometrically divide the space, then reintegrate the space back into an axis of sensations. From the abstract backdrop into which the color planes seep, protrude figurative architectural forms; and together they fragment and unify the painting surface irregularly. The way the layers are captured resembles a camera shutter adjusting automatically to the depth of field. Cutting, dividing, then assembling and unifying again, the series of visual processes of the composition expedites synesthesia and superposes a sense of motion on a still image.
Integrations, Shezad Dawood’s (b. 1974) second exhibition at Barakat Contemporary, features a sensorial symphony through which the overture of colors and the variations of segmentation visualize the epochal challenges that everyone who utilizes, enjoys, or consumes architecture confronts.
Living in our current age of unpredictability affords artists the privilege of transcending categories, or moving fluidly across the boundaries of multimedia. Shezad Dawood is at the forefront of this movement. His first exhibition at Barakat Contemporary, Leviathan: on Sunspots and Whales (2018), was a hybrid project, spanning painting, sculpture, installation and film. In close collaboration with experts from various academic fields, Dawood addressed major contemporary issues: from climate change to marine welfare, migrants and refugees, democracy, and mental health. In embracing the hybridization of our time, Dawood's work eschews reductive categories, instead demonstrating that art should not be bound to, or operate exclusively within its own field.
This approach is further expanded in Integrations. His latest solo exhibition is a study of 20th-century modernist architecture, revealing the geological, environmental, social and economic histories indexed by buildings' vernacular, while also highlighting their architects' contribution to the urban landscape, bridging past, present and future.
The exhibition takes its title from Les Intégrations, an artistic project in support of public infrastructure launched by Abdeslam Faraoui and Patrice de Mazières in the 1960s. By collaborating with Moroccan artists and adopting traditional arts and crafts, Les Intégrations sought to bring down the barrier between art and popular culture, promote art’s involvement in daily life, and renew Morocco’s cities and society. These ideals, and a desire to recover something of this lost optimism, inspired Dawood's new series of works, premiered at Barakat Contemporary.