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AKRAM ZAATARI_AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY. AN ANNOTATED HISTORY OF THE ARAB IMAGE FOUNDATION

Venue: MACBA
Plaça dels Àngels, 1
08001 Barcelona
Price: 10€
Exhibition

The archives of the Arab Image Foundation (AIF) in Beirut, Lebanon, encompass a plethora of photographic material from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab Diaspora. Initiated and developed by artists interested in photographic preservation, the AIF emerged as a place dedicated to the understanding of photography and the practices of collecting, preserving and sharing images. The AIF’s initial collection was a result of research generated by artists’ projects, leading to a new type of institution and a different approach to photographic heritage. The archive has since grown to include a vast array of other collections, ranging from vernacular snapshots to formalised studio compositions.

Beyond showcasing a wide spectrum of visual representations of the Arab world, artists who constituted or used AIF’s collection addressed radical questions about photographic documents and their function in our times. Projects engaged the writing of histories concerning the practice of ordinary people, small events and a society in general, resulting in new discourses related to the medium.

Far from presenting a historical account of the AIF, this exhibition presents an artist’s perspective, which is critical for understanding the organisation’s practice. Through Akram Zaatari, one of AIF’s founding members who played a key role in its development, the exhibition reflects on AIF’s 20-year history and the multiple statuses of the photograph, as descriptive document, as object, as material value, as aesthetics and as memory. Zaatari’s expansive work on photography and the practice of collecting, takes an archaeological approach to the medium, digging into the past, resurfacing with new narratives and resituating them in the contemporary.

The exhibition will look at the dual status of the AIF itself, as an archive of photographic and collecting practices and as an artist-led initiative that left a visible mark on the artistic landscape of its times, signalling significant moments in its history and the critical debates generated throughout its evolution. Past projects and new artist productions related to the collection will be presented.

An illustrated catalogue with texts by Mark Westmoreland, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and Akram Zaatari will be published for the occasion.

Curators: Bartomeu Marí and Hiuwai Chu

The archives of the Arab Image Foundation (AIF) in Beirut, Lebanon, encompass a plethora of photographic material from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab Diaspora. Initiated and developed by artists interested in photographic preservation, the AIF emerged as a place dedicated to the understanding of photography and the practices of collecting, preserving and sharing images. The AIF’s initial collection was a result of research generated by artists’ projects, leading to a new type of institution and a different approach to photographic heritage. The archive has since grown to include a vast array of other collections, ranging from vernacular snapshots to formalised studio compositions.

Beyond showcasing a wide spectrum of visual representations of the Arab world, artists who constituted or used AIF’s collection addressed radical questions about photographic documents and their function in our times. Projects engaged the writing of histories concerning the practice of ordinary people, small events and a society in general, resulting in new discourses related to the medium.

Far from presenting a historical account of the AIF, this exhibition presents an artist’s perspective, which is critical for understanding the organisation’s practice. Through Akram Zaatari, one of AIF’s founding members who played a key role in its development, the exhibition reflects on AIF’s 20-year history and the multiple statuses of the photograph, as descriptive document, as object, as material value, as aesthetics and as memory. Zaatari’s expansive work on photography and the practice of collecting, takes an archaeological approach to the medium, digging into the past, resurfacing with new narratives and resituating them in the contemporary.

The exhibition will look at the dual status of the AIF itself, as an archive of photographic and collecting practices and as an artist-led initiative that left a visible mark on the artistic landscape of its times, signalling significant moments in its history and the critical debates generated throughout its evolution. Past projects and new artist productions related to the collection will be presented.

An illustrated catalogue with texts by Mark Westmoreland, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and Akram Zaatari will be published for the occasion.

Curators: Bartomeu Marí and Hiuwai Chu

The archives of the Arab Image Foundation (AIF) in Beirut, Lebanon, encompass a plethora of photographic material from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab Diaspora. Initiated and developed by artists interested in photographic preservation, the AIF emerged as a place dedicated to the understanding of photography and the practices of collecting, preserving and sharing images. The AIF’s initial collection was a result of research generated by artists’ projects, leading to a new type of institution and a different approach to photographic heritage. The archive has since grown to include a vast array of other collections, ranging from vernacular snapshots to formalised studio compositions.

Beyond showcasing a wide spectrum of visual representations of the Arab world, artists who constituted or used AIF’s collection addressed radical questions about photographic documents and their function in our times. Projects engaged the writing of histories concerning the practice of ordinary people, small events and a society in general, resulting in new discourses related to the medium.

Far from presenting a historical account of the AIF, this exhibition presents an artist’s perspective, which is critical for understanding the organisation’s practice. Through Akram Zaatari, one of AIF’s founding members who played a key role in its development, the exhibition reflects on AIF’s 20-year history and the multiple statuses of the photograph, as descriptive document, as object, as material value, as aesthetics and as memory. Zaatari’s expansive work on photography and the practice of collecting, takes an archaeological approach to the medium, digging into the past, resurfacing with new narratives and resituating them in the contemporary.

The exhibition will look at the dual status of the AIF itself, as an archive of photographic and collecting practices and as an artist-led initiative that left a visible mark on the artistic landscape of its times, signalling significant moments in its history and the critical debates generated throughout its evolution. Past projects and new artist productions related to the collection will be presented.

An illustrated catalogue with texts by Mark Westmoreland, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie and Akram Zaatari will be published for the occasion.

Curators: Bartomeu Marí and Hiuwai Chu