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b. 1985, Jordan

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Biography

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is an international sound artist and professional audio investigator based in Beirut. His broad body of work extends beyond the field of art to activism, filmmaking, and scientific research, through which he examines the aesthetics of sound and the interconnection of power, listening, and truth.

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Born in Amman, Jordan, Abu Hamdan moved to the United Kingdom and studied sonic arts at Middlesex University London. Graduating with a BA in 2008, he went on to study at the Centre for Research Architecture at the University of London's Goldsmiths, completing an MA in 2010 and a PhD in 2017.

As part of his PhD research for Forensic Architecture, Lawrence Abu Hamdan conducted audio investigations in support of various NGOs and social causes. Acting as a self-proclaimed 'private ear' he has used forensic audio analysis as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, and to expose war crimes, civil injustices, and human rights abuses worldwide.

Much of Abu Hamdan's artwork stems from his investigative projects. His Saydnaya (The Missing 19db) (2017) installation evolved from interviewing survivors of Saydnaya—the infamous Syrian torture prison—in 2015 in as part of an investigation with Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International.

Mimicking the 'echo profiling' technique with which witnesses may reconstruct the prison environment they were kept blindfolded in, Lawrence Abu Hamdan's Saydnaya (The Missing 19db) is made of sonic environments with interview excerpts and flat tones that invite the viewers to imagine a space with limited knowledge.

Often blurring the boundaries of science, law, and art in his work, Abu Hamdan presents his artistic insights in a diverse set of formats, including audio-visual installations (his mainstay), music tapes, graphic works, performances, photographs, essays, lectures, and even Islamic sermons. The artist has also produced several films, including Rubber Coated Steel (2016), Walled Unwalled (2018), and Once Removed (2019).

In Lawrence Abu Hamdan's interview with Mohammad Salemy for Ocula Magazine, he explained the intersection of his legal, scientific, and artistic endeavours: 'In art, you can borrow from the ways that science and law tell the truth in order to come up with the means by which art can also speak it.' Truth, as well as the legal status of the voice and the legal, political, and technological implications that have become attached to listening are core themes of Abu Hamdan's art.

Fast becoming an international name, Lawrence Abu Hamdan's work has been presented in exhibitions, biennials, and art events across the globe. His art can also be found in major public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; and Centre Pompidou, Paris. In 2019 he was jointly awarded the Turner Prize.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Solo Exhibitions include:

Impossible Speech, Vienna Secession (2020); Lawrence Abu Hamdan: Earwitness Theatre, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Missouri (2019); Walled Unwalled, Tate Modern, London (2018); Contra-Diction: Speech Against Itself, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2016); Earshot, Portikus, Frankfurt (2016); «تقيه (Taqiyya): The Right to Duplicity, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland (2015); Tape Echo, Beruit, Cairo (2013).

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Group Exhibitions include:

Art in the Age of Anxiety, Sharjah Art Foundation, United Arab Emirates (2020); Meditations in an Emergency, UCCA Beijing (2020); Turner Prize 2019, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2019); Eavesdropping, City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand (2019); Forensic Architecture: Towards an Investigative Aesthetic, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (2017); Accented, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah (2015); Project Space: Word. Sound. Power., Tate Modern, London (2013).

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2020

Exhibition view: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Maureen Paley, London (9 December 2020–31 January 2021). Courtesy Maureen Paley.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Featured Artworks

Once Removed by Lawrence Abu Hamdan contemporary artwork
Lawrence Abu HamdanOnce Removed, 2019HD video, colour, sound, 30 minutes
Maureen Paley

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Current & Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lawrence Abu Hamdan at Maureen Paley, London
Open Now
9 December 2020–31 January 2021 Lawrence Abu Hamdan Maureen PaleyLondon
Contemporary art exhibition, Lawrence Abu Hamdan at Maureen Paley, London
Closed
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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Microwave International Announces 2020 Theme Ocula News Microwave International Announces 2020 Theme Hong Kong, 14 October 2020

The festival will explore artists, filmmakers and activists' responses to the glut and degradation of information.

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steirischer herbst ’20: Becoming Paranoia TV Ocula Feature  |  IN PARTNERSHIP WITH VEREIN K steirischer herbst ’20: Becoming Paranoia TV By Cindy Sissokho, Graz

steirischer herbst '20: Paranoia TV was all about reinventing itself to accommodate Covid-19.

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How to Support Artists and Galleries Impacted by the Beirut Explosion Ocula News How to Support Artists and Galleries Impacted by the Beirut Explosion Beirut, 13 August 2020

An Instagram account selling works donated by artists including Ali Cherri and Charwei Tsai is among the initiatives raising funds.

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

Maureen Paley reflects on the evolution of her gallery, which she opened in the front room of her Victorian terraced house in 1984 after moving to London from her native East Coast of the United States.

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan In Related Press

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan Knits Language to Power Related Press Lawrence Abu Hamdan Knits Language to Power 13 March 2020, Hyperallergic

"The Voice Before the Law" explores the ways in which linguistic uses and misuses are bound to legal systems.

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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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