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Contributions by Tenzing Barshee, Shezad Dawood, Kai Friese, Alexander Keefe, Barbara Sirieix, Rosie Thomas.
Graphic design: OK-RM.
published in November 2016
29 x 23 cm (hardcover)
96 pages (59 color ill. & 25 b/w ill.)
Part fact, part fiction, this collaborative artist's novel is set in the curious town of Kalimpong, India, where past meets present in a multi-layered tale of espionage and the esoteric.
It's 1912. We find ourselves in Kalimpong, India, in the foothills of the Himalayas. We are in the company of the eccentric Belgian-French explorer Alexandra David-Néel. She is planning a secretive, forbidden journey into Tibet… Fast forward to the 1960s. Kalimpong has become a hotbed of espionage, denounced by the Chinese as a “nest of spies” after being used by everyone from the Russians to the CIA, the nascent Indian secret service, some remaining British colonial stalwarts, Tibetan Khamba guerillas, and the Chinese themselves, of course. There are mountains, caves, and secret passages. Indeed, it has all the hallmarks of a remarkable adventure… Kalimpong is an artist project in book form by the London-based artist Shezad Dawood. Set in Kalimpong at various moments from 1912 to the present day, Dawood's project is part fact, part fiction. There are explorers and spies, poets and travelers, lovers and strangers, princesses and humanoids, all strangely connected across the globe through this curious Indian town. To develop the story, Dawood invited a number of international writers and cultural commentators to contribute texts, opting for an “exquisite corpse” method, whereby writers recommended or responded to other writers, resulting in some surprising twists. The publication accompanies an immersive virtual-reality work of the same name by the artist, which premiered at Timothy Taylor gallery, London, in the fall of 2016.
Published following the eponymous exhibition, Timothy Taylor, London, from September 16 to October 22, 2016.
Shezad Dawood (born 1974 in London, where he lives and works), is an artist and filmmaker, who looks at the compiling, layering and editing of multiple narratives across his films, paintings and sculptural works. His collaborative film projects derive from extended periods of time investigating particular locales, involving their communities in fictions of place. These fictions often use genre as a fantastical prism by which to reflect on both lived and imagined ways of being, a kind of alter-documentary. Key themes in his work include performing cinema, the (an-)archive, and an inquiry into modes of perception and how they move across the spectrum of the alchemical and the digital, figuration and abstraction and what it means to make images and texts at this moment in time.
Recent solo exhibitions include: “Pioneer Works,” Brooklyn (2015), “Fig.2” at the ICA studio, London (2015), “Parasol Unit,” London, Leeds Art Gallery and OCAT Xi'an, China (all 2014), Modern Art Oxford (2012). And group exhibitions include: Taipei Biennial (2014), Marrakech Biennial (2014), MACBA Barcelona (2014), Witte de With (2013), Busan Biennale (2010), Tate Britain (2009), and the Venice Biennale (2009). His recent feature film Piercing Brightness (2013), has been screened at the ICA, London, MoMA, New York and various international festivals and museums. Curatorial projects include the exhibition and publication: “Black Sun, for the Devi Art Foundation,” Delhi (2013/4). Shezad Dawood is Senior Research Fellow in Experimental Media at the University of Westminster.