Shezad Dawood presents a union of old and new in a visually stimulating display

In Leeds City Art Gallery’s latest exhibition, Shezad Dawood presents a new film, sculpture, textile paintings and neon pieces alongside works from the gallery’s own collection.The London-based artist was already familiar with the gallery’s collection on account of his time spent in the city when studying at Leeds Met for his PhD. The amalgamation of Dawood’s recent work and historic pieces opens up new dialogues between two seemingly contrasting elements, allowing the artist to explore histories of places and his own recent work in the context of the history of British culture.

The first room of the exhibition contains the film that lends the entire exhibition its name. Breathtakingly shot, Towards the Possible Film, 2014 depicts two blue-skinned aliens landing on a red rock shoreline that could be another worldly planet who up conflicting with figures that could well be the indigenous people of this land. The film neither completely resolves or seeks the viewer’s full understanding, yet the meticulous filming and the film’s fast pace ensure that the film remains captivating.

In the next room is Future Relics, Past Encounters, the second element to the show. A combination of historical pieces and the artists recent work, there is no denying that this room offers a hugely diverse range of artwork.

Why Depend on Space and Time, 2014 is an impressive sculptural piece that takes up the centre of the front of the room that depicts segments of a man’s head and is crafted in resin and polychromatic paint. Accompanying this is the remainder of Dawood’s work for the exhibition, which includes neon works and textile painting, alongside the historical pieces by artists including Paul Nash, Alexander Calder and Liliane Lijn.

Through the union of these old and new works, Dawood explores the coming together of past and present, different cultures and languages. Although the show can be at times, rather confusing, this visually stimulating and diverse display of work is sure to keep the viewer enthralled.

Claire Matthews


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