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b. 1985, Jordan

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Biography

Born in 1985 in Amman, Jordan, Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an artist and fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School, New York. With a background in DIY music, Abu Hamdan's practice is centred on sound and its intersection with politics, and takes on a variety of forms—including performance, graphic work, audiovisual installations, photography, essays and lectures. The artist received his PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2017, which involved a series of forensic audio investigations that were conducted as part of his research for Forensic Architecture.

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In 2012, Abu Hamdan created the audio documentary The Freedom of Speech Itself (2012), which spotlighted the UK's controversial use of voice analysis in order to determine the origins and authenticity of asylum seeker's accents, which resulted in a number of wrongful deportations. The 30 minute video is composed of a series of testimonies from lawyers, phonetic experts, asylum seekers and Home Office officials that highlight the geopolitics of accents as well as the act of listening. The work has also been exhibited as a sound installation alongside sculptural compositions of voiceprints, whose undulating, cartographic forms bind together the notions of voice and territory. Made from acoustically absorbent foam, the sculptures illustrate the frequency and amplitude of two different voices saying 'you'.

As part of his PhD research, the artist—alongside Amnesty International and Forensic Architecture—worked with survivors' of Sayndaya prison in Syria to construct the architecture of the prison through earwitness testimonies. This research was incorporated into a sound and light box installation commissioned by the 13th Sharjah Biennial, titled Saydnaya (the missing 19db) (2017). The light box illustrates that the whispers of inmates became four times lower since the beginning of the 2011 protests. This decrease is visually illustrated in the light box, along with two different voice levels demonstrating the level of whispers before and after 2011 and a third, normal conversational voice to illustrate the stark disappearance of voice over time as a direct consequence of violence and suppression. A sound piece was also played back from a dimly-lit mixing desk/sound board whose volume controls reacted autonomously according to the voices heard in the room.

The artist received the 2018 Abraaj Group Art Prize for his commissioned piece, Walled Unwalled. Projected onto a glass plate, behind another sheet of holographic foil, the work presents a series of narratives of legal cases that were constructed from evidence collected 'through walls'. In a 2018 Ocula Conversation with Mohammad Salemy, Abu Hamdan discusses the work explaining that he is 'after the condition that is depicted through the stories that are heard or experienced through walls; most explicitly through digital walls, or in terms of surveillance, when the film or camera is used to see, particularly in the context of a prison.'

In 2017, Abu Hamdan's work Rubber Coated Steel (2016) won the short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival. His exhibition Earshot at Portikus Frankfurt (2016) was the recipient of the 2016 Nam June Paik Award. Solo exhibitions include Hammer Museum L.A. (2018), Kunsthalle St Gallen (2015), Beirut in Cairo (2013) and The Showroom in London (2012).

Tessa Moldan | Ocula | 2018

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Lawrence Abu Hamdan at Maureen Paley, London
28 April–28 May 2017 Lawrence Abu Hamdan Maureen PaleyLondon

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Represented By

Maureen Paley contemporary art gallery in London, United Kingdom Maureen Paley London, Hove

Lawrence Abu Hamdan In Ocula Magazine

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Maureen Paley: A Trailblazing Gallerist Ocula Conversation Maureen Paley: A Trailblazing Gallerist By Rory Mitchell, London

After moving to London from her native East Coast of the United States, Maureen Paley opened her first gallery in the front room of her Victorian terraced house in 1984. She gave numerous international artists, including Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Mike Kelley, Charles Ray, and Christian Marclay their first exhibitions in London, quickly...

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Postponed Until 2021, Art Dubai Launches Online Catalogue Ocula News Postponed Until 2021, Art Dubai Launches Online Catalogue Dubai, 24 March 2020

The fair's digital offering also includes a Global Art Forum livestream on March 25 and an ongoing 'Planetary Feed' of interviews, insights and impressions from its network of luminaries.

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Who is Max Mara Prize Winner Emma Talbot? Ocula News Who is Max Mara Prize Winner Emma Talbot? London, 11 March 2020

Talbot will undertake a residency in Italy as the recipient of Britain’s only major prize for female visual artists.

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Art Basel Launches Online Showrooms After Cancelling HK Show Ocula News Art Basel Launches Online Showrooms After Cancelling HK Show Hong Kong, 21 February 2020

With tens of millions in China confined to their homes, galleries and institutions have likewise pivoted to online events.

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan In Related Press

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Turner Prize Nominees Consider the Injustices Brought About by Borders Related Press Turner Prize Nominees Consider the Injustices Brought About by Borders 14 November 2019, Hyperallergic

MARGATE, England — Every year the Turner Prize judges trawl through dozens of exhibitions around the world to find new and fresh voices in contemporary art. The four nominees are then presented in a group show, and part-way through a winner is announced and awarded the £25,000 (~$32,000) prize. If the Turner Prize tries to capture the...

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Nam June Paik today – part II Related Press Nam June Paik today – part II 18 October 2019, ArtReview

Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (Young-hae Chang and Marc Voge) How did you first encounter the work of Nam June Paik? Paik accosted us in Paris, on the rue de Seine, in front of his hotel, La Louisiane, during the open market. Then he ran up to his room and brought us back a catalogue of his current show.

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Turner Prize 2019 Review: The Roots of Our Political Crisis Go Far Beyond Brexit Related Press Turner Prize 2019 Review: The Roots of Our Political Crisis Go Far Beyond Brexit 27 September 2019, Frieze

All four artists nominated for this year's Turner Prize draw on political histories: some wide-ranging, others highly localized; one contained within the last decade, another drawing on a text from the early 15th century. With one subtle exception, none of them are directly exploring the themes that emerged after the electoral shocks of 2016...

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Earwitness Theatre Related Press Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Earwitness Theatre 1 August 2019, The Brooklyn Rail

We primacy vision: what we see, we take as truth. It may be cliché but clichés are colloquial truths, developed through relatable experiences that come to structure experience. When first drafting this review, I had begun: 'Imagine a silence...' but what is an image of silence? How can we even conceive of an image of an absent sense?

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