Working in photography, film, video, installation, and performance, Beirut-based artist Akram Zaatari has built a complex, compelling body of work that explores the state of image-making today. One of the founders of the Arab Image Foundation, which aims to track down and preserve photos from North Africa, the Middle East, and Arabic communities around the world, Zaatari collects, examines, and recontextualizes a wide range of documents—from found audiotapes to family photographs to videos found on YouTube—that testify to the cultural and political conditions of Lebanon’s postwar society. His artistic practice involves the study and investigation of the way these documents straddle, conflate, or confuse notions of history and memory.
Projects 100 features the American premiere of two video installations: Dance to the End of Love (2011) and On Photography, People and Modern Times (2010). Comprised of found YouTube clips made by Arab youth and shared freely online, Dance to the End of Love examines the role of social media as a space that is both intimate and public. On Photography, People and Modern Times, which tracks photographic records that Zaatari researched and collected for the Arab Image Foundation in the late 1990s, is a meditation on intimate past moments evoked by photographs and a present environment that secures their preservation. Cutting across temporal and geographic borders, these two video installations probe the nature of time and assert the permeability of memory.
This exhibition is organized by Ana Janevski, Associate Curator, Department of Media and Performance Art, and Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, with Katerina Stathopoulou, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography.
The Elaine Dannheisser Projects Series is made possible in part by the Elaine Dannheisser Foundation and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.
Image: Akram Zaatari. Dance to the End of Love. 2011. Four-channel video projection (color, sound), 22 min. Installation view MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, Spain. Courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut / Hamburg. © 2013 Akram Zaatari