• “Wael Shawky: The Crusades and Current Stories”

    ARoS Aarhus Art Museum
    Aros Allé 2
    May 19–September 9, 2018

    Curated by Erlend G. Høyersten and Maria Kappel Blegvad

    With its cast of expressive, intricately garbed marionettes animated by unseen hands, Wael Shawky’s “Cabaret Crusades” video trilogy, 2010–15, spurns the Eurocentric narrative of the campaign for the Holy Land, drawing instead on medieval Islamic accounts by Usama Ibn Munqidh and Ibn al-Qalanisi, and on Amin Maalouf’s more contemporary retelling, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1984). For this exhibition at ARoS, the three films will be accompanied by more than forty marionettes, while two new woodcuts and a hand-carved wooden relief will present a more classical Western depiction of the Crusades. The latter work, Relief the Adoption de Godefroy de Bouillon par Alexis Comnène, 2016, echoes the 1842 painting of the storied crusader by Alexandre Jean Baptiste Hesse—only with the otherworldly intervention of a cane-wielding mystical creature, whose presence questions the reliability of how history is handed down. An accompanying exhibition catalogue will provide context from Crusades scholar Jørgen Bæk Simonsen.