Artist: Akram Zaatari
Venue: Sfeir-Semler, Beirut
Exhibition Title: This Day @ Ten
Date: December 6 – March 22, 2014
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Akram Zaatari and Sfeir-Semler, Beirut
The exhibition revisits Zaatari’s documentary work, using archival photographs to re-tell (hi)stories and reflect on greater trends, placing the artist as a visual archeologist and narrator and creating a dialogue between the revealing and concealing of the artifact.
The first half of the gallery has been transformed into a cinema space, screening This Day (2003), In This House (2004-2012), and Zaatari’s latest film Letter to a Refusing Pilot (2013), accompanied from behind by the looping short video Saida June 6, 1982 (2002). Each provides a different approach to considering the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, using camera movements, digging, and social narratives as separate methods of exposure to reflect on the creation and meditation of history that is facilitated by images and objects alike, blending archival material with footage from contemporary Lebanon.
The artist subverts this pattern of exposure found in the video works in his Time Capsule sculptural installation on the other side of the exhibition. The project is an engagement in a form of radical preservation, inspired by the actions taken during the civil war by Lebanese National Museum officials, completely enveloping museum artifacts that were left in the space to give them protective shields in the midst of violent uncertainty. Rather than unearthing and presenting narratives through historic material, in this case Zaatari seals and buries the images in the ground within a steel and concrete structure, considering the creation of the artifact and the foundation of the narratives to come.
These disparate approaches converge to provide a way of traversing the space between “This Day” and today, each project providing a route of mediation bonded together by the materiality of processes at question and the objects suspended in their midst.
Akram Zaatari was born in 1966 in Saida, Lebanon. He is the author of over 30 video works and several photographic projects revolving around vernacular photographic traditions, sexuality as well as the Lebanese Civil War’s social and cultural memory. He represented Lebanon at this year’s 55th Venice Biennale. His works have been shown in dOCUMENTA 13 (2012), Liverpool Biennial (2012), the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2012) and Istanbul Biennial (2011). His works are in the collections of the Tate Modern (London), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Museum of Modern Art (New York), TBA21 (Vienna), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), and many others.