Art Lovers Movie Club: Shezad Dawood

Welcome to the Art Lovers Movie Club, where every week you’ll find a new artist’s video available exclusively online at for seven days.

Each week, for the next five weeks, will screen an episode from London-based Shezad Dawood’s ongoing ten-part film cycle Leviathan (2017–). The screenings form part of a collaboration between ArtReview, Modern Forms, David Roberts Art Foundation and The Ryder, showcasing the first five episodes of this ambitious project.

Kicking things off is Leviathan Cycle, Episode 1: Ben (2017), originally presented at the 57th Venice Biennale. Featuring a mix of found and newly filmed footage, alongside spoken word, the episode is set following a solar cataclysm that has wiped out a large part of the human population. The narrator, Ben, reminisces about a childhood spent roaming the back corridors of the Natural History Museum in London (that contain, among other marvels, Darwin’s original specimen jars from the Beagle expedition) and his fascination with the Giant Squid preserved in the Marine Research labs. Along the way, pieces of the back story to the global cataclysm against which the narrative is set are revealed.

Dawood’s work spans film, performance, painting, neon, sculpture and virtual reality. Recent solo exhibitions include: New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2020), Bluecoat Liverpool (2019); MOCA Toronto (2019); FriezeLIVE, London (2019); Kunstverein, Munich (2019); A Lost Future: Rubin Museum of Art, New York (2018); Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice (2017); Timothy Taylor, London (2016); Galerist, Istanbul (2016); Pioneer Works, Brooklyn (2015); Fig.2 at the ICA studio, London (2015); Parasol Unit, London (2014); Leeds Art Gallery and OCAT Xi’an, China (both 2014), Modern Art Oxford (2012).

Leviathan Cycle, Episode 1: Ben (2017), HD Video, 12 mins 52′ secs. Commissioned by University of Salford Art Collection, Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Leviathan-Human & Marine Ecology, with support from The Contemporary Art Society. Courtesy: the artist and UBIK Productions

Screening dates: 21–28 May 2020

Previous films in the Art Lovers Movie Club include Luis Roque’s Heaven, screened 18–25 March 2020; Wong Ping’s An Emo Nose (2015), screened 26–31 March 2020; Laure Prouvost’s Shed A Light (2018), screened 2–9 April 2020; Alex Da Corte’s TRUƎ LIFƎ and BAD LAND (2017), screened 9–15 April 2020; Stine Deja’s 4K ZEN (2017), screened 17–23 April 2020; Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s Fog Dog, screened 24–30 April 2020; Ivens Machado’s Versus (1974), screened 11–19 May 2020; and Roger Hiorns’s BENIGN (2005), screened 15–21 May 2020.

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