Hrair Sarkissian’s photographs reflect on personal memories, using subjectivity as a way to navigate stories that official histories are unable to tell. Using traditional documentary techniques in large-scale works, he engages the viewer in a profound consideration of what lies behind the surface of the images, thereby re-evaluating larger historical or social narratives.
Sarkissian’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2020); Davis Museum, Wellesley College, USA (2017); Sursock Museum, Beirut (2017); Fondazione Carispezia, La Spezia, Italy (2015); Mosaic Rooms, London (2015); Kalfayan Galleries, Athens (2013, 2010 and 2008); Darat al Funun, Amman (2013); SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul (2011); Podbielski Contemporary, Berlin (2011); and Museum of Photography of Thessaloniki, Greece (2007).
Among his group exhibitions are Injurious Acts, King’s College, London (2021); The British Art Show (2021); Unsettled Objects, Sharjah Art Foundation (2021); Trembling Landscapes: Between Reality and Fiction, Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam (2020); The Architecture of Memory, Landskrona Foto Festival, Sweden (2020); Mara’ina, King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, Dhahran (2019); Imagined Communities, 21st Contemporary Art Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil, São Paulo (2019); Inhabiting the Mediterranean, Valencia Institute of Modern Art, Spain (2019); Venice Biennale (2019); Sharjah Biennale 14 (2019); The New Europe, Brighton Photo Biennial, UK (2018); Video Echoes: Waves from the Eastern Mediterranean, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick, Australia (2018); In the Still of the Night, Fotohof, Salzburg (2018); Nonlinear Histories: Transgenerational Memory of Trauma, Downtown Central Library, Glendale, USA (2018); Flatlands, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila (2017); Age of Terror, Imperial War Museum, London (2017); La Terra Inquieta, Triennale Milano (2017); Make a Change, Norrtälje konsthall, Sweden (2017); Disappearance at Sea: Mare Nostrum, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (2017); Wounded Cities: Hyphenated Places–Hyphenated Identities, Parsons School for Design, the New School, New York City (2017); ATLAS of the ruins of Europe, CentroCentro, Madrid (2016); Built, World, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, USA (2016); Critical Archives I, Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Rethymno, Greece (2016); Make a Change, Kulturcentrum Ronneby, Sweden (2016); 10th Bamako Encounters, African Biennale of Photography, Bamako (2015); To What End, Camera Austria, Graz (2015); Fire and Forget, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2015); Venice Biennale (2015), Time, Conflict, Photography, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany (2015); Sitter, Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio, USA (2015); Time, Conflict, Photography, Tate Modern, London (2014); Alienated of Every Country, Unite!, La Folie, Quebec City (2014); Death of a Cameraman, Apexart, New York (2013); Here, Elsewhere, Friche Belle de Mai, Marseille Capital of Culture, France (2013); Power, Photos, Freedom!, Fotomuseum Antwerp (FOMU), Belgium (2013); 7th Asia Pacific Triennial (APT7), Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2012); Arab Express, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2012); Lines of Control, Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, New York (2012); DRIFT: An exploration of Urban and Suburban Landscapes, Sharjah Art Foundation (2011); Facing Mirrors, Photography Museum, Thessaloniki, Greece (2011); Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011); 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2011); Out of Place, Tate Modern, London (2011); Out of Place, Darat al Funun, Amman (2011); Breaking News, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, Italy (2010); 21st International Photography Meeting, Thessaloniki (2010); Disorientation II: The Rise & Fall of Arab Cities, Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi (2009); 11th Istanbul Biennial (2009); Treasures of Wisdom, ReMap2, Athens (2009); Visual Arts in Greece III, Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (2008); New Ends, Old Beginnings, Bluecoat, Liverpool (2008); Constructio, Galeria Antonio de Barnola, Barcelona (2008); Meeting Points, Amman, and Damascus (2005); Voies Off, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles, France (2004); Hrair Sarkissian, Centre d’Art le Creux de l’enfer, Thiers, France (2003); Journées de la photographie, Damascus (2003); Journées de la photographie, Damascus (2001); International Photographic Gathering, Aleppo (2001); and International Photographic Gathering, Aleppo (2001)
Sarkissian’s work can be found in the collections of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Utah Museum of Fine Arts; Mori Museum, Tokyo; Tate Modern, London; Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, Italy; Fondazione Cari Spezia, Italy; Sharjah Art Foundation; The Khalid Shoman Collection, Amman; and The Farjam Collection, Dubai.
His awards include the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai (2012) and a Steenbergen Stipendium, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2010).
Sarkissian holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (2010). Born in 1973 in Damascus, he lives and works in London.
Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber