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Biography

akram_zaatari_damage_negatives_scratched_portrait_of_mrs_bawari_from_the_series_photographic_phenomena_2012

akram zaatari

1966, Saida, Lebanon

Akram Zaatari has developed an interdisciplinary practice that combines the roles of image-maker, archivist, curator, and critical theorist. He is concerned with notions of desire, resistance, memory, surveillance, and –in particular– with the production and circulation of images during wartime. Delving in photography, film, video, installation, and performance, he has built a complex body of work that explores self-documentation and the current state of image making. Zaatari is especially interested in the Lebanese postwar condition, particularly the televised mediation of territorial conflicts and wars, and the logic of religious and national resistance. Through the appropriation and exhibition of documents and image archives, he invites us to rethink what it means to witness, survive or document a war. Some of his works are based on his own collection and study of middle-eastern photographic history: archival images that comprise a valuable record of social relations, representations of male sexuality, and photographic practices of the region. In addition to his own archival work, Akram Zaatari is a founding member of the Arab Image Foundation, which aims to collect, study and disseminate the photographic heritage of Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab diaspora.

Zaatari earned a Bachelor of Architecture in 1989 from the American University of Beirut and a Master of Arts in Media Studies from the New School in New York in 1995. In 1997 he was one of the organizers of the now extinct Ayloul Festival an initiative to produce and sponsor theatre, dance, installation, and video works by young Lebanese and international artists. In 2011, he was the 4th laureate of the Yanghyun Prize and in 2004 he received the Grand Prize from the Associação Cultural Videobrasil; He was also awarded Best Documentary and Best Director at the 2nd edition of the Beirut International Film Festival.

Akram Zaatari lives and works in Beirut.

Selected Works

Selected Works Thumbnails

untitled, 2007
metheb el maasheh, a rwelah bedouin from the raja tribe (2001)
digital print
35.8 x 55.9 in

 

 

 

learning photography, 2007
an explosion due to an israeli air raid on the awali bridge. saida, june 6, 1982
digital print
28.8 x 43.3 in

 

 

 

the desert panorama, 2002-2006
digital print
50 x 196.9 in, and 31.9 x 119.7 in

 

 

the desert panorama, 2007
16 negative sheets, 33 contact prints, a tray of negatives, contact prints, with white cotton gloves on light table
35.8 x 44.09 in

 

 

saida, june 6, 1982, 2006
digital print
36.22 x 74.8 in

 

 

ali's back, 2011
digital print
70.9 x 86.6 in

 

 

another resolution, 1998
a photograph showing maha shaasha'a in 1968, taken by daad saasha'a
digital print
8 x 10 in

 

 

 

another resolution, 1998
may kassem,1998
digital print
70.9 x 56.7 in

 

 

 

another resolution, 1998
a photograph of ghassan salhab, dakar, 1958
digital print
8 x 10 in

 

 

 

another resolution, 1998
ghassan salhab
digital print
70.9 x 56.7 in

 

 

 

bodybuilders, 2011
printed from a damaged negative showing from left to right: hassan al aakkad, munir el dada, and mahmoud el dimassy in saida, 1948
digital print
70.9 x 57.1 in

 

 

 

bodybuilders, 2011
printed from a damaged negative showing munir el dada in saida, 1948
digital print
70.9 x 57.1 in

 

 

 

her + him van leo, (detail), 2001-2012
hd video in black and white and color with sound, vitrine with 12 images
31:00 min

 

 

her + him van leo, 2001-2012
hd video in black and white and color with sound, vitrine with 12 images
31:00 min
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

 

 

her + him van leo, (detail), 2001-2012
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

time capsule, 2012
installation view at documenta 13, kassel, 2012

 

time capsule, 2012
installation view at documenta 13, kassel, 2012

 

time capsule, 2013
rod and white flourescent paint
236.22 x 236.22 installed
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

 

 

the end of time, 2012
16mm black and white film, silent
13:00 min
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

 

 

the end of time, 2012
16 mm black and white film, silent
13:00 min
installation view at documenta 13, kassel, 2012

 

 

 

the end of love, 2013
set of 150 color prints
5.12 x 7.09 in each

 

 

the end of love, 2013
detail

 

on photography, people and modern times, 2012
2 channel hd video projection
42:00 min

 

 

on photography, people and modern times, 2012
2 channel hd video projection
42:00 min
installation view at museum of modern art, new york, 2013

 

 

 

neruda's letters, 2007
nabih awada's letters from askalan
digital print
35.8 x 29.1 in

 

 

 

letter for a time of peace, 2007
b-10 mortar case in which former member of lebanese resistance ali hashisho buried a letter in 1991
digital print
49.6 x 61.4 in

 

 

 

march fourteen, 2007
digital print
19.3 x 15.7 in each

 

 

tomorrow everything will be alright, 2010
single channel video, color, sound
11:48 min

 

 

tomorrow everything will be alright, 2010
single channel video, color, sound
11:48 min
installation view of composition for two wings at kunsternes hus, oslo, 2011

 

 

 

letter to samir, 2007
letter from nabih awada to samir al-quintar, wrapped eight times in plastic, sealed and intended as a time capsule
digital print
49.6 x 61.4 in

 

 

 

untitled, 2007
akram zaatari's photo albums, envelopes, and negatives from the early 80s
digital print
61.4 x 44.09 in

 

 

 

letter to a refusing pilot, 2013
hd video
34:00 min

 

 

letter to a refusing pilot, 2013
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

damaged negatives: stratched portrait of mrs. baqari, from the series "photographic phenomena," 2012
inkjet print on silver rag paper, printed from 35 mm scratched negative from the hashem el madani archive
70.9 x 47.2 in

 

 

untitled, 2007
metheb el maasheh, a rwelah bedouin from the raja tribe (2001)
digital print
35.8 x 55.9 in

 

 

 

learning photography, 2007
an explosion due to an israeli air raid on the awali bridge. saida, june 6, 1982
digital print
28.8 x 43.3 in

 

 

 

the desert panorama, 2002-2006
digital print
50 x 196.9 in, and 31.9 x 119.7 in

 

 

the desert panorama, 2007
16 negative sheets, 33 contact prints, a tray of negatives, contact prints, with white cotton gloves on light table
35.8 x 44.09 in

 

 

saida, june 6, 1982, 2006
digital print
36.22 x 74.8 in

 

 

ali's back, 2011
digital print
70.9 x 86.6 in

 

 

another resolution, 1998
a photograph showing maha shaasha'a in 1968, taken by daad saasha'a
digital print
8 x 10 in

 

 

 

another resolution, 1998
may kassem,1998
digital print
70.9 x 56.7 in

 

 

 

another resolution, 1998
a photograph of ghassan salhab, dakar, 1958
digital print
8 x 10 in

 

 

 

another resolution, 1998
ghassan salhab
digital print
70.9 x 56.7 in

 

 

 

bodybuilders, 2011
printed from a damaged negative showing from left to right: hassan al aakkad, munir el dada, and mahmoud el dimassy in saida, 1948
digital print
70.9 x 57.1 in

 

 

 

bodybuilders, 2011
printed from a damaged negative showing munir el dada in saida, 1948
digital print
70.9 x 57.1 in

 

 

 

her + him van leo, (detail), 2001-2012
hd video in black and white and color with sound, vitrine with 12 images
31:00 min

 

 

her + him van leo, 2001-2012
hd video in black and white and color with sound, vitrine with 12 images
31:00 min
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

 

 

her + him van leo, (detail), 2001-2012
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

time capsule, 2012
installation view at documenta 13, kassel, 2012

 

time capsule, 2012
installation view at documenta 13, kassel, 2012

 

time capsule, 2013
rod and white flourescent paint
236.22 x 236.22 installed
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

 

 

the end of time, 2012
16mm black and white film, silent
13:00 min
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

 

 

the end of time, 2012
16 mm black and white film, silent
13:00 min
installation view at documenta 13, kassel, 2012

 

 

 

the end of love, 2013
set of 150 color prints
5.12 x 7.09 in each

 

 

the end of love, 2013
detail

 

on photography, people and modern times, 2012
2 channel hd video projection
42:00 min

 

 

on photography, people and modern times, 2012
2 channel hd video projection
42:00 min
installation view at museum of modern art, new york, 2013

 

 

 

neruda's letters, 2007
nabih awada's letters from askalan
digital print
35.8 x 29.1 in

 

 

 

letter for a time of peace, 2007
b-10 mortar case in which former member of lebanese resistance ali hashisho buried a letter in 1991
digital print
49.6 x 61.4 in

 

 

 

march fourteen, 2007
digital print
19.3 x 15.7 in each

 

 

tomorrow everything will be alright, 2010
single channel video, color, sound
11:48 min

 

 

tomorrow everything will be alright, 2010
single channel video, color, sound
11:48 min
installation view of composition for two wings at kunsternes hus, oslo, 2011

 

 

 

letter to samir, 2007
letter from nabih awada to samir al-quintar, wrapped eight times in plastic, sealed and intended as a time capsule
digital print
49.6 x 61.4 in

 

 

 

untitled, 2007
akram zaatari's photo albums, envelopes, and negatives from the early 80s
digital print
61.4 x 44.09 in

 

 

 

letter to a refusing pilot, 2013
hd video
34:00 min

 

 

letter to a refusing pilot, 2013
installation view of akram zaatari the end of time at kurimanzutto, mexico city, 2013

 

damaged negatives: stratched portrait of mrs. baqari, from the series "photographic phenomena," 2012
inkjet print on silver rag paper, printed from 35 mm scratched negative from the hashem el madani archive
70.9 x 47.2 in

 

 

notable solo exhibitions

notable solo exhibitions

Recently, some of his solo exhibitions have included: Against Photography. An Annotated History of the Arab Image Foundation, Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates (2019); The fold: space, time and the image, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, United States (2018); Akram Zaatari: Against Photography. Annotated History of the Arab Image Foundation, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA), Spain (2017); Double Take: Akram Zaatari and the Arab Image Foundation, National Portrait Gallery, London (2017); Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, Galpão VB | Associação Cultural Videobrasil, São Paulo, Brazil (2016); This Day at Ten, Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland (2016); The Archaeology of Rumour, British School at Rome BSR (2016); Unfolding, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2015); Akram Zaatari: The End of Time, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada (2014); Projects 100: Akram Zaatari, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York (2013); Aujourd'hui à 10 ans / This Day at Ten, MAGASIN - Centre National d'Arts et de Cultures, Grenoble, France (2013); Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, United States (2012); Akram Zaatari: El molesto asunto, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo MUAC, Mexico City (2012) and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain (2011), among others.
 

selected group exhibitions and biennials


His work has also been part of group exhibitions such as: Beirút, Beyrut, Beyrouth, Beyrout, National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik (2019); En Rebeldía (In Rebellion), Valencia Museum of Modern Art, Spain (2018); Home Beirut. Sounding the Neighbours, MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Roma (2017); In Rebellion. Female Narratives In The Arab World, Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, IVAM, Valencia, Spain (2017); Question the Wall Itself, The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, United States (2015); Quand fondra la Neige où ira le Blanc? 
Palazzo Fortuny, Venice (2015); Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York (2014); fALSEfAKES, Centre de la photographie Genève, Switzerland (2013); This is a special blackout edition! KADIST, Paris (2012); Play 03, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands (2010); Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin (2009); Les inquiets, Espace 315, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008), among others.

Akram Zaatari has also participated in the following biennials: Sharjah Biennial 14, United Arab Emirates (2019); 14 İstanbul Bienali, Turkey (2015); Yokohama Triennale 2014, Japan; dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2013); Lebanese Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennial (2013); SeMA Biennale Mediacity Seoul, South Korea (2012); Lebanese Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennial (2007); 15th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2006); 6th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2006); 27a Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (2006), among others.
 

Video