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.

Read More

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:

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

400 billion dollars of air by Lawrence Abu Hamdan contemporary artwork sculpture, print
Lawrence Abu Hamdan 400 billion dollars of air, 2022 Digital print on 15 glass plates, linen, cardboard
Maureen Paley
Once Removed by Lawrence Abu Hamdan contemporary artwork moving image
Lawrence Abu Hamdan Once Removed, 2019 HD video, colour, sound, 30 minutes
Maureen Paley

Lawrence Abu Hamdan
current & 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

Read 19 More
Read 19 More
Learn more about the market for works
by Lawrence Abu Hamdan.
Enquire for a confidential discussion. Enquire Now
Simon Fisher, Ocula CEO
Ocula Advisor
Simon Fisher
Christoper Taylor, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Christopher Taylor
Eva Fuchs, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Eva Fuchs
Rory Mitchell, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Rory Mitchell

Lawrence Abu Hamdan
in Ocula Advisory

Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Follow Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Stay ahead.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Do you have an Ocula account?
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
What best describes your interest in art?

Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming exhibitions, available works, events and more.
By clicking Sign Up or Continue with Facebook or Google, you agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions. Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.