This exhibition has been co-organized by National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea(MMCA) and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art(MACBA), with the K21 Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Sharjah Art Foundation as partner organizations.
In 1997, Akram Zatari co-founded the AIF(Arab Image Foundation) with artists and photographers of his generation. The creation of the Foundation enacted a critical movement in image cultures in Lebanon, if not the Arab world. And at this present, it is an organisation that recognises the image as objet and positions photography in a larger set of social practices.
The show stems from the interest in this critical intersection between archive and artistic practices. It also presents a subjective look of the artist at the evolution of the AIF, an institution that in its 20year history has amassed over 50,000 images from the Middle East and North Africa. The Artist’s work engages directly with the issues which have coexisted within the AIF, while also pushing the boundaries of an expanded definition of photography and its function in society.
As Mark R. Westmoreland points out in his text*, the archaeological method of excavation provides a conceptual framework for Zaatari’s artistic practice, in which he digs into the past in order to place traces of past events in the present, thus finding new meaning. Therefore, it is possible to see this exhibition as a kind of an excavation, which spans the macro to the micro.
* Reference, 49p of the exhibition catalogue(Korean version)
Born in Saida, Lebanon in 1966, Akram Zaatari currently lives and works in Beirut. Zaatari was selected to represent Lebanon at the 55th Venice Biennale(2013). His works are part of the collection of MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern, TBA21, and MACBA. Zaatari’s works have also been featured in ,DOCUMENTA 13(2012) and Istanbul Biennial(2011).