Wael Shawky at KW Berlin

Al Araba Al Madfuna at KW Institue Berlin

The KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin brings us an unique exhibition: Wael Shawky’s “Al Araba Al Madfuna ” . The exhibition comprises of 3 video installations, with an approximate length of 1 hr each. The Egyptian artist is a storyteller and through his films he deals with the historical developments of the Middle East from his particular and complex point of view .

The exhibition despies the difficulty of follow the rythym is sure very magical . From the moment you enter you find yourself immersed in a desert listening to old stories of a wise Jeque from a village in the middle of the oasis – a quite typical thing for the elders after dinner in the middle east; but this time the scene is enacted by boys. The next floor above you’ll find the film that gave Wael Shawky the ‘Ernst Schering Foundation Art Award’. It is a film about the crusades in the Middle East told with puppets. The sceneries are masterly set up and it drives you slowly to analyse different characters that defined Arab culture and society. A vast number of the original puppets are located on the floor above, which also overlooks the installation. On the last floor of the exhibition there is a video installation with multiple videos playing simultaneously, depicting the impact of the water on the people of the deserts.


The exhibition is the first solo international exhibition of Wael Shawky and is part of a project for supporting international artists. Wael Shawky was picked out of 15 artist nominated by international curators. The Ernst Schering Foundation Art Award has been awarded biannually since 2005 ; the award includes prize money of 10,000 Euros, a solo exhibition at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin and a catalogue .

The KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin founded in the early 1990s has no collections of its own, and works mainly as an art laboratory of cultural developments in Germany and abroad. It is worth checking their programme before you visit.

As a personal tip unless you are very interested in Middle Eastern history or storytelling, you may not want to watch the films in their entirety, but rather to focus on the aesthetical aspects and draw from it what you will. The stories are magnificently portrayed and well made, but at times can be a little hard to follow. It is worth referring to the exhibition guide for conceptual information.

Wael Shawky exhibition, open until 21st October 2012.

Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 – 19:00, or Thursday until 21:00

Admission price: 6 euros, or concession 4 euros.

Films are shown in Arabic with English subtitles.


KW Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin  Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin Mitte , http://www.kw-berlin.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=22&Itemid=39&lang=en