Saturday, 1 October 2016
Review of Shezad Dawood: Kalimpong at Timothy Taylor
Shezad Dawood: Kalimpong
16 September – 22 October 2016
Have you ever wanted to put your head inside a yeti’s skull, to converse with the ghosts of Himalayan explorers, or to jump off a parapet and into a snowy void? Well, now’s your chance. For his first exhibition with Timothy Taylor, Shezad Dawood (b1974) has transformed the Mayfair gallery into a disorienting space, with tantric wallpaper and a bright neon of Himalayan temples, that burns an imprint on to your retinas as you enter his unfamiliar world. Alongside this are two glittering white sculptures and six paintings-cum-screenprints-cum-collages. However, the pièce de résistance is a virtual reality work, inviting visitors to travel through time and space, secret passages and Himalayan foothills, in a simultaneously fantastic and nauseating (I never was good with motion sickness) experience, bookable ahead of time, and lasting up to 15 minutes, depending on the route you – and your guide – take.
The exhibition is set in Kalimpong, a real town in the Indian Himalayas, and one with a rich history at that. Once gateway to Tibet, the town has seen many happenings. “Kalimpong is just quite wonderful,” says Dawood. “It’s hard to know where to begin. Everywhere, if you scratch beneath the surface, is a Pandora’s box of references. There are so many sedimentary layers of narrative.”
Read this review here