Three young men in hooded tops ride bicycles and circle a man and a woman. The chased couple wear floating white gowns and walk in an equally dreamy procession. At every turn the dreamy quality of the Artist’s work is stopped by sordid values such as those of a seedy drinking den. Shezad Dawood’s 2011 film, Trailer is played in a loop in Modern Art Oxford’s large upstairs space. This is a monumental experience as we are given slippers to wear and take a seat on a giant sofa shaped like a donut. The celluloid action shoots past us as a dramatic climax is thrown in the air.
Dawood is excellent at creating a sense of place in all his works. East meets west in the roots of all his work. In a smaller studio huge beanbags are found in darkness whilst Dawood’s film recreates 1960’s decadence with traditional Moroccan music played by a band. The experience is like sitting at a trippy concert; coloured lights flicker inside a spinning cylinder that has windows cut into it. Either side of the light show the intense eyes of the musicians are captured. The film, entitled New Dream Machine Project, records the view from many windows to the soul.
Piercing Brightness is the title to this exhibition, which also showcases a homely selection of upholstered canvases. Domestic fabrics are embroidered with silk cottons then painted on with black contemporary stripes that spell out destruction to the home spun comfort that lies beneath it.
The space-age theme of the film Trailer (which is an edited version of the Artist’s original feature film bearing the same title as this show, Piercing Brightness) is tracking down 100 special visitors that were sent to explore a new planet. It is not clear exactly who these visitors are or why they cannot be found. Even though the donut shaped white sofa is deeply comfortable, peril lies in the air. Perhaps the missing visitors are the people around me, watching the film in the semi-darkness.