26 January - 17 March 2007
"Objects of study"
Akram Zaatari (* 1966 Saida, Lebanon) is a video artist, photographer, archival artist and curator who lives and works in Beirut. As author of more than 30 videos and video installations, Zaatari has been exploring issues pertinent to Lebanese postwar condition, particularly the mediation of territorial conflicts and wars through television, the logic of religious and national resistance, and the production and circulation of images in the context of a geographically divided Middle East, such as in his feature length All is well on the border (1997), This Day (2003) and In This House (2005).
As the Co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation (Beirut), Akram Zaatari based his work on collecting, studying and archiving the photographic history of the Middle East, notably studying the work of Lebanese photographer Hashem el Madani (*1928) as a register of social relationsships and photographic practices. His ongoing research formed the basis for a series of exhibitions and publications such as Hashem El Madani: Studio Practices (with Lisa Lefeuvre) or Mapping Sitting (collaboration with Walid Raad).
Zaatari curated the Videobrasil “The Possible Narratives” (2004) and recently exhibited at the Sydney, São Paulo and the Gwangju Biennal in China (all 2006). He made text contributions in scholarly journals such as “Third text”, “Bomb”, “Framework“, „Transition“, and „Parachute“. He is a regular contributor, wirting on video, in „Zawaya”.
In the upcoming show in the Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg Akram Zaatari will present his Madani Project: It is an ongoing project, that takes the entire archive of studio Shehrazade (Saida Lebanon) as study material to understand the complex relationship, which ties a studio photographer to his working space, his equipments and tools, economy, and aesthetics, and further explore his ties to clients, society, and the city in general.
Initiated by Akram Zaatari and the Arab Image Foundation, the project meets on the one hand Zaatari’s interest in living situations as objects of study that testify on modern traditions and complex social relationships- and on the other hand the Arab Image Foundation’s commitment to preserving, indexing and studying photographic collections in the Arab world. The Madani Project takes shape in a series of thematic exhibitions, publications, and videos centered on photographer Hashem el Madani (1928 - ) and his work. With the project unfolding, the archive of studio Shehrazade is gradually being identified, described, and preserved in Beirut as part of the Arab Image Foundation's photographic collection.
© Akram Zaatari
Objects of study / Studio Shehrazade / Reception Space, colour lightjet print, 350 cm x 127 cm