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  • Shaan Syed: Crowds and Constellations
(Plug in editions books)

Shaan syed: crowds and constellations

Artist: Shaan Syed

Shaan Syed: Crowds & Constellations Winnipeg: Plug In Editions, 2006 Essays by David Liss & Steven Matijcio Design by Susan Chafe 64 Pages; 52 Colour Plates

Crowds & Constellations is a monograph reflecting on the work of Toronto-born, London (UK)-based artist Shaan Syed over the past five years (2001-2005), published on the occasion of his first large-scale solo exhibition at Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art in Winnipeg. It features a number of full colour reproductions of Syed’s paintings, and essays by two curators who have worked closely with the artist over the course of a significant period of growth in his practice. David Liss, Director/Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, provides a candid personal account of a visit he paid to Syed in the text “Painting Disaster and Spectacle in the Age of Anxiety.” Connecting abstract themes of tragedy with the specific events of September 11th, 2001, Liss examines Syed’s prescient ability to capture the anatomy of turmoil in times of human crisis. Translating these intimate observations into a larger methodology befitting the multiple layers of Syed’s work, Steven Matijcio (curator of Plug In ICA) combines sociology, science, star patterns, and close formal analysis in his text “Crowds and Constellations.” Drawing upon fields of crowd theory, swarm intelligence, astrology, and the extensive study of collective behaviour by British-Austrian novelist Elias Canetti (1905–1994), Matijcio constructs a cross-disciplinary language to articulate Syed’s translation of composition into a cartographic instrument. As a whole, this volume charts the development of a prodigious young painter as he traces the cryptic logic of human congregation across chaotic crowds, shadowed landscapes, and the intricacies



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Shaan Syed: Crowds and Constellations