Akram Zaatari

AKRAM ZAATARI, three snapshots and a long exposure, Exhibition view, Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg, 2022Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg, 2022

Akram Zaatari (b.1966, Lebanon) has produced more than fifty films and videos, all sharing an interest in writing histories, pursuing a range of interconnected themes, subjects, and practices related to excavation, political resistance, the lives of former militants, the legacy of an exhausted left, the circulation of images in times of war, and the play of tenses inherent to various letters that have been lost, found, buried, discovered, or otherwise delayed in reaching their destinations. Zaatari has played a critical role in developing the formal, intellectual, and institutional infrastructure of Beirut’s contemporary art scene. As a co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, he has made invaluable and uncompromising contributions to the wider discourse on preservation and archival practice. Zaatari’s represented Lebanon at the Venice Biennial in 2013 with his film LETTER TO A REFUSING PILOT. His work has been featured at Documenta13 in 2012.

His work is part of institutional collections such as the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; K21 Dusseldorf; MACBA, Barcelona; MoMA, New York; Serralves Foundation, Porto; Tate Modern, London and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2022 three snapshots and a long exposure, Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg
2019 Against Photography. An Annotated History of the Arab Image Foundation, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE
Photographic Currency, La Vitrine, Beirut Art Residency, Beirut, Lebanon
The Script, Modern Art Oxford, UK
2018 Akram Zaatari, Turner Contemporary, Kent, UK
The Fold - Space, time and the image, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
The Third Window, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
Against Photography. A annotated history of the Arab Image Foundation, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea
Letter to a Refusing Pilot, Modern Museet, Malmö, Sweden
The Script, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK
2017 Against Photography. A annotated history of the Arab Image Foundation, Kunstsammlung NRW, K21 Ständehaus, Düsseldorf, Germany
Double Take: Akram Zaatari and the Arab Image Foundation, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
Against Photography. A annotated history of the Arab Image Foundation, MACBA: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain
Unfolding, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
2016 Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, Galpao VB: Associação Cultural Videobrasil, São Paulo, Brazil
This Day At Ten, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
The Archaeology of Rumour, British School at Rome, Rome, Italy
Letter to a Refusing Pilot, Thomas Dane Gallery, London, UK
2015 Unfolding, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
2014 Akram Zaatari, SALT, Istanbul, Turkey
This Day at Ten, WIELS: Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels, Belgium
Akram Zaatari: The End of Time, The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada
2013 Letter to a Refusing Pilot, Lebanon Pavilion, 55th International Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
Project 100: Akram Zaatari, MoMA, New York, USA
This Day at Ten, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
All is Well, Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston University, Ontario, Canada
2012 This Day at Ten, Magasin - Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France
Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachussetts, USA
The End, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
The Uneasy Subject, MUAC, Mexico City, Mexico
Akram Zaatari, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Composition for Two Wings, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
2011 Composition for Two Wings, Kunsternes Hus, Oslo, Norway
The Uneasy Subject, Museo del Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, León, Spain
This Day, Moderna Galerija Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2010 Akram Zaatari, Laboratories of Aubervillliers, Aubervillliers, France
2009 Earth of Endless Secrets, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon; Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon; Kunstverein München, Munich, Germany
2007 ART Statements, Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland
2006 Hashem el Madani: Pomenades and Studio Practices, La CaixaForum, Barcelona, Spain
2005 Mapping Sitting, in collaboration with Walid Raad, Grey Art Gallery, New York, USA
2004 Unfolding, Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany
Mapping Sitting. On Portraiture and Photography, in collaboration with Walid Raad, Centre Pour l’Image Contemporaine, Geneva, Switzerland
2002 Mapping Sitting. On Portraiture and Photography, in collaboration with Walid Raad, SK Die Photographische Sammlung, Cologne, Germany
Mapping Sitting. On Portraiture and Photography, in collaboration with Walid Raad, KunstenFestivalDesArts, Brussels, Belgium
2000 The Townhouse Gallery, Cairo, Egypt
1999 Darat al Funun, The Kahlid Shoman Foundation, Amman, Jordan

Selected Group Exhibitions

2023 History Tales. Fact and Fiction in History Painting, Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Austria
Logos. Images Talk, FMAV – Palazzo Santa Margherita, Modena, Italy
Beirut: Eternal Recurrence, SAW, Ottawa, Canada
Becoming Van Leo, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
In the Heart of Another Country: The Diasporic Imagination Rises, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
Beyond Ruptures, a Tentative Chronology, Sursock Museum, Beirut, Lebanon
Love, CAM Cameron Art Museum, Washington, USA
Rooms with a View. Aby Warburg, Florence and the Laboratory of Images, La Gallerie Degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy
2022 In The Heart of Another Country, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Germany
2021 For The Phoenix To Find Its Form In Us, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, Germany
Enjoy - die mumok Sammlung im Wandel, mumok, Wien, Austria
2020 Me, Family: Portrait of a Young Planet, Mudam, Luxembourg
Masculinities: Liberation through Photography, Gropius Bau, Berlin, Germany
2019 Mara’ina, King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture - Ithra, Saudi Arabia
Phantom Limb, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, UAE
Making New Time, Sharjah Biennial 14, Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE
2018 Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India
Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam, Netherlands
What is Utopia?, Galleria Civica, Modena, Italy
9th Arab Film Festival Berlin - ALFILM, Berlin, Germany
The Dictionary of Evil, Gangwon International Biennale, Gangwon, South Korea
Truth is black, write over it with a mirage’s light, Darat al Funun, The Kahlid Shoman Foundation, Amman, Jordan
Beirut, Beyrut, Beyrouth, Beyrout, Oslo Kunstforening, Oslo, Norway
Unboxing Photographs. Working in the Photo Archive, Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, Germany
Fast Forward Festival Five, ONASSIS Cultural Center, Athens, Greece
2017 In Rebellion. Female Narratives In The Arab World, Valencia Museum of Modern Art, Valencia, Spain
Letter to a refusing pilot, MOMENTA I biennial de l’image - What Does the Image Stand For?, Quebec, Canada
No to the Invasion: Breakdowns and Side Effects, CCS Bard, New York, USA
The Written Language of Reality, CCS Bard, New York, USA
Home Beirut. Sounding the Neighbours, MAXXI, Rome, Italy
Forms of Resistance, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, Ireland
Between Two Rounds of Fire, The Exile of the Sea: Arab Modern and Contemporary Works From The Barjeel Art Foundation, Katzen Arts Centre, Washington D.C, USA
How Close Could We Get to the Light and Survive?: Why Are We Here Now?, Curated by Rabih Mroué, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt, Berlin, Germany
ISelf Collection: The End of Love, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
A Cross Border Selection of the Artium Collection, The Artium Museum, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
2016 Between Myth and Fright. The Mediterranean as conflict, Institut Valencia d’art Modern, Valencia, Spain
The Human Document, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, UK
In Search of The Present, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland
Question the Wall Itself, Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, USA
Art From Elsewhere: International Contemporary Art from UK Galleries, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK
An Imagined Museum: Works from the Centre Pompidou, the Tate and the MMK, Museum Fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany
A History: Contemporary Art from the Centre Pompidou, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
2015 Gallery 3010, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
Arte Fiera Collezionismi - Too Early Too Late. Middle East and Modernity, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Bologna, Italy
2014 4th International Canakkale Biennial, Çanakkale, Turkey
10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, South Korea
Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama, Japan
Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York, USA
(Mis) Understanding Photography Works and Manifestos, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany
A Guest Without a Host is a Ghost, Contemporary Image Collective & Townhouse, Cairo, Egypt
2013 fALSEfAKES, Centre de la Photoraphie, Geneva, Switzerland
‘Ici, Ailleurs (Here, Elsewhere)’, Belle de Mai, Marseille, France
Regen Project, Los Angeles, California, USA
2012 Mediacity Seoul 2012, Seoul, South Korea
When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco, California, USA
Six Lines of Flight: Geographies in Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California, USA
The Unexpected Guest, Liverpool Biennial, UK
dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany
Arab Express: The Latest Art form the Arab World, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Private, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Germany
Subversion, Cornerhouse Manchester, Manchester, UK
2011 Mapping Subjectivity, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Distant Star, Kurimanzutto Gallery, Mexico City, Mexico; Regen Projects, Los Angeles, California, USA
Beirut, Kunsthalle Wien project space, Vienna, Austria
Seeing is Believing, KW Berlin, Berlin, Germany
17th International Contemporary Art Festival, SESC & Videobrasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Jean Genet, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK
12 Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, Turkey
Told - Untold - Retold, Mathaf, Doha, Qatar
Photography: New documentary forms, Tate Modern, London, UK
Mapping Subjectivity, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Sharjah Biennial 10, Sharjah, UAE
2010 Play van Abbe Part 3. The Politics of Collecting - The Collecting of Politics, Van Abbe Museum Eindhoven, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
The Tradition of the Future - The Future of Tradition, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany
2009 Closer, Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon
Tarjama / Translation, Queens Museum of Art, New York, USA
EN TODAS AS PARTES. Everywhere. Sexual Diversity Policies in Art, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, A Coruña, Spain
Indicated by Signs, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn, Germany
2008 Bursts of Borders: New Acquisitions, FRAC Provence-Alpes, Cote d’Azur, France
The worried: five artists under the pressure of war, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
In the Middle of the Middle, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
Torino Triennale 2008, Torino, Italy
Scenes of the South II: Eastern Mediterranean, Carré d’Art, Nîmes, France
Art Now in Lebanon, Darat al Funun, The Kahlid Shoman Foundation, Amman, Jordan
2007 Oh Girl, It’s a Boy!, Kunstverein München, Munich, Germany
52 Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy
MEDITERRÀNIA(ES), Centre d’Art La Panera, Lerida, Spain
Geopoetics, Centro José Guerrero, Granada, Spain
Thermocline of Art - New Asian Waves, ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany
Thessaloniki Biennale 1, Thessaloniki, Greece
2006 27 Sao Paulo Biennale, Sao Paulo, Brazil
6th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju, Korea
15th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Out of Beirut, Modern Art Oxford, Oxford, UK
2005 Leaps of Faith, An international arts project for the Green Line, Nicosia, Cyprus
Masculinities, NBK Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Flight 405, Sfeir Semler Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon
2004 SENI, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Nam June Paik Award exhibition, Dortmund, Germany
LIFT, Part of the exhibition: Laughter, Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and the Bargehouse, London, UK
2003 Substream, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway
Worldwide Video Festival, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Possible Narratives, Videobrasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Disorientation, Haus der Kulturen der Werlt, Berlin, Germany
2002 HomeWorks, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon
Haunted by Detail, Die Appel, Amsterdam, Netherlands
1998 Ayloul Festival, Beirut, Lebanon

Public Collections
  Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, USA
Tate Modern, London, UK
Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
Arco Foundation, Madrid, Spain
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Kadist Foundation, Paris, France
TBA21, Vienna, Austria
Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
MMCA, Seoul, Korea
Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, France
Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland
Jameel Arts Center, Dubai, UAE
Barjeel Collection, Dubai, UAE


  - Rifat Chadirji: Architecture Index, edited with Mark Wasiuta, published by the Arab Image Foundation, Khaph Books, 2018
- Against Photography, Macba - MMCA, 2018
- Akram Zaatari, Tomorrow Everything Will Be Alright, Texts by Farkas, Solange - Bogossian, Gabriel – Dos Anjos, Moacir – Westmoreland, Mark. Videobrasil, Sao Paulo, 2016
- Akram Zaatari, All Is Well, Texts by Vicky Moufawad Paul and Judith Rodenbeck. Published by the Agnes Etherington Art Center, and The Carleton University Art Gallery, Kingston and Ottawa, 2014
- Snauwaert, Dirk & Dumalin, Caroline: Film as a Form of Writing. Quinn Latimer Talks to Akram Zaatari., Publishied in English, French and Ducth by Wiels and Motto Books, Brussels, 2014 ISBN: 978-9-078937-22-7
- Akram Zaatari, Time Capsule Kassel, Published in English, French and Italian by Mousse Publishing. Texts by: Texts by Yves Aupetitallot, Andrea Viliani, Kaelen Wilson-Goldie, and Akram Zaatari Milan, 2014. ISBN 9788867490974
- Akram Zaatari, Conversation with an Imagined Israeli Filmmaker Named Avi Mograbi, Published in English by Sternberg Press, Laboratoire d’Aubervilliers, Kadist, Paris, Berlin, 2012
- Akram Zaatari, Conversation avec un cinéaste Israélien imaginé: Avi Mograbi, Published in French by Black Jack Press, Laboratoire d’Aubervilliers, Kadist, Paris, 2012
- Akram Zaatari, The Uneasy Subject, Edited by Juan Vicente Aliaga. Texts by Juan Vicente Aliaga, Stuart Comer and Mark Westmoreland. Published by Charta, Milan 2011
- Akram Zaatari & Karl Bassil eds. “AKRAM ZAATARI: Earth of Endless Secrets.” Texts by Hannah Feldman, Rasha Salti, Laura Marks and Kaelen Wilson-Goldie. Published by Portikus, Sfeir-Semler Gallery, and the Beirut Art Centre, Beirut, 2009
- Akram Zaatari and Karl Bassil, Hashem el Madani: Promenades. An Ongoing Project by Akram Zaatari, MTG & AIF, Beirut, 2007
- Akram Zaatari, Hashem el Madani: Promenades and Studio Practices, La Caixa Forum, Barcelona, 2007
- Akram Zaatari & Lisa Lefeuvre, Hashem el Madani: Studio Practices. An Ongoing Project by Akram Zaatari, the Arab Image Foundation, Mind the gap, and The Photographers’ Gallery, Beirut, Lebanon, 2004
- Akram Zaatari & Bassil, Karl, & Maasri, Zeina, Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography. A Project by Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari, the Arab Image Foundation , and Mind the gap, Beirut, Lebanon, 2002
- Akram Zaatari, The Vehicle; picturing moments of transition in a modernising society, the Arab Image Foundation, and Mind the gap, Beirut, Lebanon, 1999
- Akram Zaatari, Portraits du Caire, Actes Sud, France, 1999