May You Live In Interesting Times, 2019

May You Live In Interesting Times, 2019
Exhibition view 58th Venice Biennale 2019

Lawrence Abu Hamdan (b. 1985 Amman, Jordan), lives and works in Beirut, Lebanon.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan is a “Private Ear”. His interest with sound and its intersection with politics originate from his background as a touring musician and facilitator of DIY music. The artists audio investigations has been used as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and as advocacy for organisations such as Amnesty International and Defence for Children International together with fellow researchers from Forensic Architecture. Abu Hamdan received his PhD in 2017 from Goldsmiths College London.

In 2019 Abu Hamdan was nominated for the Turner Prize for his exhibition Earwitness Theatre and his performance After Sfx. In 2017 his film Rubber Coated Steel won the Tiger short film award at the Rotterdam International Film festival, The audience award at 25 FPS Festival in Zagreb, and the Dialog Award at European Media Art festival in Osnabruk. In 2016 he won the Nam June Paik Award for new media..

Abu Hamdan is a fellow at the University of Chicago, was 2017/2018 guest of the DAAD Kunstler Program in Berlin and the 2015-17 fellow at the Vera List Centre for Art and Politics at the New School in New York.

His solo presentations have taken place at Witte De With, Rotterdam (2019), Tate Modern Tanks & Chisenhale Gallery, London, Hammer Museum L.A (2018), Portikus Frankfurt (2016), Kunsthalle St Gallen (2015), Beirut in Cairo (2013), The Showroom, London (2012), Casco, Utrecht (2012). His works are part of collections at MoMA, Guggenheim, Van AbbeMuseum, Centre Pompidou and Tate Modern.


Goldsmiths College, University of London, PhD, The Centre for Research Architecture, UK

Goldsmiths College, University of London, MA, The Centre for Research Architecture, UK

Middlesex University, BA, Sonic Arts, London, UK


Selected Solo Exhibitions

The Voice Before the Law, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, Germany
Earwitness Theatre, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia
Natq, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon Earwitness Theatre, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Walled Unwalled, daadgalerie, Berlin, Germany
Walled Unwalled, conceived for the Tanks, Tate Modern, Bankside, London, UK
Earwitness Theatre, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK
Lawrence Abu Hamdan: [INAUDIBLE], mor charpentier, Paris, France
Lawrence Abu Hamndan, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK
Hammer Projects: Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

Contra-Diction: Speech Against Itself, Le Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Earshot, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany

Taqiyya, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, Switzerland
The All-Hearing, Laveronica, Arte Contemporanea, Sicily, Italy

Tape Echo, part of positions, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Tape Echo, Beirut in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt

Aural Contract: The Whole Truth, Casco Utrecht, Netherlands
Aural Contract: The Freedom of Speech Itself, the Showroom, London, UK


Selected Group Exhibitions

Tell me about yesterday tomorrow, NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, Munich, Germany
Turner Prize Exhibition, Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK
May You Live In Interesting Times, 58th Venice Biennale 2019, Italy
Making New Time, Sharjah Biennale 14, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE
Crack Up - Crack Down, Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Public Art Munich 2018, Munich, Germany
Of Other Spaces, 2018 Abraaj Group Art Prize Exhibition, Art Dubai, Dubai, UAE
Unfinished Portrait, Mor Charpentier, Paris, France
74 million million million tons, SculptureCenter, New York, USABiennale de l'Image en Mouvement 2018: The Sound of Screens Imploding, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
BLIND SPOT, LE CAP, Centre d’arts plastiques de Saint-Fons, Daint-Fons, France
He cannot speak for himself [Can´t Speak for Itself], La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain

From Ear to Ear to Eye: Sounds and Stories from Across the Arab World, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK
Accentisms, Taxispalais, Kunsthalle Tirol, Innsbruck Austria
Parades for FIAC, Paris, France
The Image of War, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
Negotiating the Future: 2017 Asian Art Biennial, National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan
Where do I end and you begin – On Secularity, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2017, Gothenburg, Sweden
Stealing from the West, Academy of the Arts of the World, Cologne, Germany
Manipulate the World, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Forensic Architecture – towards an investigative aesthetic, MACBA, Barcelona, Spain
Heart of the Tin Man, M Woods, Beijing, China
Blind Date, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
Tamawuj, Sharjah Biennial 13, Sharjah, UAE
Contour Biennale 8 Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium, Kunstcentrum NONA, Mechelen, Belgium
Strange Attractor, Ballroom Marfa, Texas, USA
We Are Everywhere, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago, USA

Nam June Paik award exhibition, Museum Folkwang Essen, Germany
If All Relationships Were to Reach Equilibrium, Then This Building Would Dissolve, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, UK
The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?), Gwangju Biennial, Korea
9th Liverpool Biennial, UK
Imperfect Chronology, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK

British Art Show 8, Hayward Gallery, UK
Political Populism, Kunsthalle Wien, Austria
Surround Audience, New Museum Triennial, New York, US
Accented, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah, UAE

Contaro, Al Hondiga, Bilbao, Spain
Social Factory, 10th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China
Forms of Distancing: Representative Politics and the Politics of Representations, Sterchicher, Herbst Festival, Austria
Don’t You Know Who I Am? Art After Identify Politics, M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium
Transfigurations: Curatorial and Artistic Research in an Age of Migrations, MACBA, Barcelona, Spain
Forensis, Hause Kulturen, Berlin, Germany
Ten Thousand Wiles and Tricks, Meeting Point 7, Beirut Art Centre, Beirut, Lebanon
Don’t Embarrass the Bureau, Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Sweden
Word. Sound. Power, KHOJ International Artists’ Association, New Delhi, India

Tensta Museum, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
Schizophonia, Cac la Synagogue de Delme, France
4 days April 2013, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK
Things Behinds the Sun, Non, Istanbul, Turkey
Lexicon VHDG, Leeuwarden, Netherlands
Word. Sound. Power, Tate Modern, London, UK
The String and the Mirror Lisa Cooley Gallery, New York, US

Desire Lines, Espai Cultural de Caja Madrid, Barcelona, Spain
Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan
How Much Fascism? Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp, Belgium
Soundworks, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK
Alternative 2012: Materiality, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk, Poland

Survival Kit, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Latvia

Homeworks 5: A Forum on Cultural Practices, Aural Contract Artist Talk, Beirut, Lebanon

A Time to Make Ten Shoes, Santarcangelo 39, Italy

Lawrence Abu Hamdan & Will Saunders Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, UK


Performances and Screenings

Walled Unwalled, Museum Of Contemporary Art Chicago, USA
Walled Unwalled, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Funkhaus studios, Rotterdam, Netherlands
After SFX, International Film Festival Rotterdam, WORM, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Walled Unwalled, 36th Torino Film Festival, Torino, Italy
Bird Watching, Durub al Tawata by Tarek Abou Al Fatouh
, The Auditorium, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, UAE
After SFX, The Tanks, Tate Modern, Bankside, London, UK
Walled Unwalled, Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto, Canada

Rubber Coated Steel, Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest, Romania
Rubber Coated Steel, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
ICA, London, UK
Rubber Coated Steel, Asia Focus: Performing Arts at MMCA (National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art), Seoul, South Korea
Sound Bleed, Portikus XXX summer screening program, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany
Rubber Coated Steel, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Listening Space: Bird watching, documenta 14, Athens Conservatoire, Athens
Rubber Coated Steel, New York Film Festival, New York USA

Rubber Coated Steel, Union Docs, New York, US

Double Take, 45th International film festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Isambard Kingston Brunel, Hammer Museum, LA, USA
Contra-diction: Speech Against Itself, The New Museum, New York, US
Double Take at the Past 100 Years, part 1: WDW Review Offline, Witte de With,Rotterdam, Netherlands

Contra-diction: Speech Against Itself, Cornerhouse, Manchester, UK
The All-Hearing, 44th International film festival Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Received Pronunciations, Radio Web MACBA, Barcelona, Spain
Contra-diction: Speech Against Itself, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
Contra-diction: Speech Against Itself Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK

Aural Contract Audio Archive, Tate Modern, London, UK
Public Sound 3, The Speaking Subject, de Player, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Aural Contract, Meeting Point 7, M HKA, Antwerp, Belgium
Isambard Kingston Brunel, Iaspis, Stockholm, Sweden
Mountain Language, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK
Record, Reframe, Resist, V&A, London, UK

Aural Contract, The Voice Symposium, The Science Museum’s Dana Centre, London, UK
Artists’ film club: sound and vision, ICA, London, UK
The Pessoptimist Marathon with Marwa Arsanios, The Jerusalem Show, Jerusalem, Ramallah, Palestine & Beirut, Lebanon

Audio Infrastructures, Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk, Poland
Model Court: An Ecology of the Courtroom, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK

Forensic Listening, 98 Weeks Project Space, Beirut, Lebanon

Light Night: Leeds Urban Performance, Leeds, UK



Co-winner of the Turner Prize 2019

The Abraaj Group Art Prize
20th Baloise Art Prize

Shortlisted for the 2017 Jarman Award
Dialog Award 2017
Frieze Tate Fund Acquisitions
Tiger Award for Short Films

International Nam June Paik Award


Institutional Collections

Tate, London, UK

Guggenheim, New York, USA

MOMA, New York, USA

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Arts Council England Collection, UK

Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE