Against Photography. An Annotated History of the Arab Image Foundation, 2017
Installation view MACBA

Born Saida (Lebanon) 1966. Lives and works in Beirut.

Akram Zaatari has produced more than forty films and videos, a dozen books, and countless installations of photographic material, all pursuing a range of interconnected themes, subjects, and practices related to excavation, political resistance, the lives of former militants, the legacy of in exhausted left, intimacies among men, the circulation of images in times of war, and the play of tenses inherent to various letters have been lost, found, buried, discovered, or otherwise delayed in their destinations. Zaatari has played a critical role in developing the formal, intellectual, and institutional infrastructure of Beirut's contemporary art scene. He was one of a handful of young artists who emerged from the delirious but short-lived era of experimentation in Lebanon's television industry, which was radically reorganized after the country's civil. As a co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, a groundbreaking, artist-driven organization devoted to the research and study of photography in the region, he has made invaluable and uncompromising contributions to the discourse against photography and its disintegration, preservation and archival practice. Zaatari has been focusing since 2004 on studying the archive of studio photographer Hashem el Madani, who founded Shehrazade studio in Saida, where Zaatari filmed his latest feature Twenty Eight Nights and A Poem (2015).

Zaatari represented Lebanon at the Venice Biennial 2013. He has shown his films, videos, photographs, and other documents in Paris as a center, MoMA in NY, Tate Modern in London, Modern Museet in Stockholm, Macba in Barcelona and Kunsthaus Zurich. He has taken part in Documenta13 (2012), the biennials of Gwangju, Liverpool, Istanbul, Sao Paulo and Sydney.

His films have screened at the Berlinale, FID Marseilles, Rotterdam, Toronto, and Oberhausen film festivals.




Born in Saida, Lebanon

lives in Beirut


Selected Solo Exhibitions


Against Photography. A commented history of the Arab Image Foundation , Kunstsammlung NRW, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf
Against Photography. Akram Zaatari and the Arab Image Foundation , National Portrait Gallery, London. Annotated History of the Arab Image Foundation , Macba, Barcelona
Unfolding , Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg

Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright,  Galpao VB: Associação Cultural Videobrasil, São Paulo
This Day At Ten , Kunsthaus Zurich
The Archeology of Rumor , British Institue, Rome

Unfolding , Moderna Museet, Stockholm

This Day @ Ten , Wiels Contemporary Art Center, Brussels

Akram Zaatari , Lebanese Pavilion, Arsenale, 55. Venice Biennial, Venice
Akram Zaatari. This Day @ Ten , Sfeir-Semler Gallery Beirut
Akram Zaatari: All Is Well , Agnes Etherington Art Center, Queens University Kingston, UK
Projects 100: Akram Zaatari , Projects Gallery Museum of Modern Art, New York

Projects 100: Akram Zaatari , SFMOMA, San Francisco
This Day at Ten / Aujourd'hui at 10 , Magasin Center National Art Contemporain Grenoble, France
Akram Zaatari , Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Chicago
The End , Gallery Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg

Composition for Two Wings , Kunsternes Hus, Oslo
This Day , Moderna Galerija Ljubiljana, Slovenia  

 Les Laboratoires d'Aubervilliers, France
Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Earth of Endless Secrets , Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut
Ludlow38, New York
Beirut Art Center, Lebanon
Kunstverein Munich

Art Basel / Statements, Switzerland
Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg

 Hashem el Madani: Promenades and Studio Practices , CaixaForum, Barcelona, Tenerife and Salamanca
Hashem el Madani: Studio Practices , Paris Photo, Paris

 Mapping Sitting (coll. With Walid Raad), Gray Art Gallery, New York

Unfolding , Portikus, Frankfurt
Hashem el Madani: Studio Practices , Photographers' Gallery, London
Mapping Sitting , Center Pour l'Image Contemporaine, Genève
Mapping Sitting , Musée Nicéphore Nièpce, Chalon-sur-Saône, France

Mapping Sitting , SK The Photographic Collection, Cologne
Mapping Sitting , Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels

The Vehicle , The Townhouse Gallery, Cairo

The Vehicle , Darat al Founoun, Amman, Jordan 

Goethe Institute, Beirut


Selected Group Exhibitions


9th Arab Film Festival Berlin - ALFILM, Germany
The Dictionary of Evil, Gangwon International Biennale, South Korea
30th Anniversary Inaugural Exhibition, Daral al Funun, Amman, Jordan
Beirut, Beyrut, Beyrouth, Beyrout, Oslo Kunstforening, Oslo, Norway

Letter to a refusing pilot , MOMENTA I biennial de l'image, Quebec
No to the Invasion: From the Archive, CCS Bard, New York
The Written Language of Reality , CCS Bard, New York

Between Myth and Fright. The Mediterranean as Conflict , Valencian d'Art Modern Institute, Valencia
The Human Document , Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Center, England.
In Search of The Present , Espoo, Finland, Espoo, Finland
Question the Wall Itself , Walker Art Center, Minneapolis , USA
Art From Elsewhere: International Contemporary Art from UK Galleries , Arnolfini, Bristol, England
An Imagined Museum: Works from the Center Pompidou, the Tate and the MMK , Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
A History: Contemporary Art from the Center Pompidou , House of Art, Munich, Germany

Gallery 3010 , Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut
Arte Fiera Collezionismi - Too Early Too Late. Middle East and Modernity , Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Italy

Here and Elsewhere , New Museum, New York, United States
(Mis) Understanding Photography Works and Manifestes , Museum Folkwang Essen, Germany
Shifting Sands , ASU Art Museum, Temple, Arizona
Yokohoma Triennial of Contemporary Art, Yokohoma, Japan

FALSEfAKES , Center de la Photoraphie, Geneva
Here, Elswhere / Ici, ailleurs , Marseille-Provence, France

This is a special blackout edition! The Kadist Art Foundation, Paris
Privat , Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
When Attitudes Became Become Attitudes , CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco
Liverpool Biennial , Liverpool
Mediacity Seoul 2012 , Seoul
Six Lines of Flight: Contemporary Art Geography , San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
dOCUMENTA (13) , Kassel, Germany
Arab Express: The Latest Art form the Arab World , Mori Art Museum, Tokyo
Subversion , Cornerhouse Manchester

Participant at Istanbul Biennale, Istanbul
Seeing is believing , KW
Distant Star , Rain Projects, Los Angeles & Kurimanzutto, Mexico
Nottingham Contemporary , Nottingham, UK
Beirut project space , Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria
17th International Contemporary Art Festival , São Paulo
Photography, New Documents , Tate Modern, London
Mapping Subjectivity , MOMA, New York
Volume! , MACBA Barcelona
October Salon 2011 , Belgrade Cultural Center, Belgrade

Tradition of the Future - Future of Tradition , Haus der Kunst, Munich
Rencontres International, Paris / Berlin / Madrid , House of Cultures, Berlin

Indicated by Signs curated by Yilmaz, Bonner Kunstverein
Espai Visor Gallery, Valencia
Itinerary Gallery, Rome
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Tarjama / Translation , Queens Museum of Art, New York
Lisson Presents 1 , Lisson Gallery, London
Closer Beirut Art Center, Beirut

The Middle of the Middle by Catherine David, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut
50 Moons of Saturn, Torino Triennale, Torino
Scenes du Sud II, Carré d'Art, Nimes
Art in Lebanon, Darat el Founoun, Amman, Jordan
Les Inquiets, Espace 315, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Oh Girl, It’s a Boy, Kunstverein München, Munich
Mediterraneo(s), Centre d’Art La Panera, Lerida, Spain
GEOPOETICAS, Centro José. Guerrero, Granada, Spain
Pavilion of Lebanon, Venice biennale, Venice
Thermocline of Art - New Asian Waves, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
Biennale of Thessaloniki, Greece

Biennale of Sao Paulo, Brazil
Gwangju Biennale, Korea
Biennale of Sydney, Australia
OUT OF BEIRUT , Modern Art Oxford
A Picture of War is not War , Wilkinson Gallery, London

Leaps of Faith , Nicosia, Cyprus
Masculinities , NBK Berlin
Flight 405 , Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

CAC Ticino, Italy
SENI , Singapore art Museum, Singapore
Nam June Paik Award exhibition , Dortmund
Tanit Gallery, Munich, as part of Present / Absence.
LIFT, London - Part of the exhibition Laughter

Substream , Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
Worldwide Video Festival, Amsterdam
The Possible Narratives , Videobrasil, São Paulo
Disorientation , curated by Jack Persekian, House of World Cultures, Berlin, Germany

Haunted by detail , The Appel, Amsterdam

Hamra Street project, Beirut
Askal Alwan, Beirut

Corniche project, Askal Alwan, Beirut

Ayloul Festival, Beirut


Works in public collections:


Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Tate Modern, London, Global Arts, London, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Arco Foundation, Madrid, Center Georges Pompidou, Paris, Kadist Foundation, Paris, TBA21, Vienna




Akram Zaatari: El Molesto Asunto/The Uneasy Subject, 2010, a project co-produced by MUSAC, León and MUAC, México
Earth of Endless Secrets, 2009, published as a postscript to the exhibition Akram Zaatari: Unfolding; and for the exhibition: Akram Zaatari: Earth of Endless Secrets, Kunstverein München, Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Beirut, Beirut Art Center
Hashem el Madani: Studio Practices, (2004 – MTG – AIF – TPG).
Mapping Sitting, (2002 - MTGé, Beirut) with Zeina Maasri and Karl Bacil, in collaboration with W. Raad.
The Vehicle: Picturing Moments of Transition in a Modernizing Society,(1999 - MTGé, Beirut)
Portraits du Caire: Van Leo, Armand, Alban, (1999 - Actes Sud, Paris)
Another Resolution, (1998 - MTGé, Beirut)  


Awards and Residencies


Video de Brazil in Videobrazil, First Prize for Tomorrow Everything will be Alright
Yanghun Prize, Korea 

DAAD, Berlin Artists Program 

Recollets, Paris.
Bellagio, The Rockefeller Foundation 

FAIR PLAY Video Art Festival Berlin, 1st Prize for Red Chewing Gum 

Prix Son - FID Marseilles for This Day 

Grand Award - Ismailia Short & Doc Film Festival (Egypt) for Her + Him Van Leo 

Jury Award - VideoLisboa for Red Chewing Gum 

Grand Award - Antalya Golden Orange Festival for Crazy of You
Best documentary & best director, Beirut film festival for Crazy of You  

Banff Center for the Arts 


Film and Video Screenings / Festivals (Selection)


17th International Festival of Contemporary Art, SCSE Videobrazil, São Paulo 

International Film Festival Rotterdam 

Beirut Art Center
Images, Toronto 

Oberhausen Short Film Festival
SANFIC, Santiago - Chile 

Festival des 3 Continents, Nantes 

Tate Modern, London 

Videobrasil, São Paulo 

Disorientation, House of World Cultures, Berlin