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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

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 Recent Exhibitions

Lawrence Abu Hamdan Represented By

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

Lawrence Abu Hamdan In Ocula Magazine

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan In Related Press

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