Wael Shawky (*1971, lives and works in Alexandria, Egpyt) has just completed a 3 month Pro Helvetia residency at the F+F School of Art and Design Zurich. Along with 'Al Aqsa Park' (2006), two new pieces 'Darb el Arbaeen - The 40 Days Road' and 'Digital Church' have been selected for his solo show at Kunsthalle Winterthur.
The 4-channel projection 'Darb el Arbaeen - The 40 Days Road' is about a man who leaves his little village in the desert together with his waterbuffalo in order to find a water well; in a metaphorical way, the water makes it possible for little houses to be built in the village. On the one hand the video shows the house as the most basic form of civilisation; on the other it refers to the conditions that make this kind of essential protection possible. In the two other works the buildings are understood in a more complex senses, as they also have to provide psychological protection. The computer animation 'Al Aqsa Park' shows the famous Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem turned into a carousel that is turning around with blinking lights; and in the video installation 'Digital Church', a castle-like structure provides the frame for a film that shows the artist reciting from the Koran in a catholic church. Human desires for peace and security require protective buildings of all kinds of shapes and sizes; but in order to fulfill these desires in a globalised society these buildings will inevitably have to be made more permeable.