Air Conditioning (production concept detail), 2022

Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Air Conditioning (production concept detail), 2022
Full colour inkjet print on matt fibre photo paper, 90 x 5475 cm; sound, 40 minutes (looped)
Visualisation by Cream Projects
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation
Courtesy of the artist


How does one make visible the stories that exist outside of the human field of vision? Can rendering and imagining the frequencies, simulations and stimulations of sound reveal narratives concealed from history? Artist and ‘Private Ear’ Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s projects express how the experience of listening—the nuances of a cyclic stutter or how the incongruency of an anxious murmur can reveal intricate details of the contested social, political and economic spheres in which we live. In the multi-sensory exhibition, The Sonic Image, the Turner Prize winning artist Abu Hamdan presents various studies of splintered aural leaks. Through research and analysis, the artist crafts a new form of image-making—a new aesthetic politics. ‘What does it mean to sonify images?’, asks Abu Hamdan. Here, the artist perceives of an image that behaves akin to sound itself—a picture that fluctuates between the ear and the eye—that may only exist through the accumulation of both senses.

Tracing the contours of immaterial forms of surveillance and control, The Sonic Image presents a distinctive form of visual expression that explores concepts of ‘atmospheric violence’ and the politics of listening. In the exhibition, the artist maps out an aesthetic atlas for how we see sound—that leaking of substances, which cannot be held by the membrane of either state or person; body or apparatus.

The largest institutional solo exhibition by the artist to date, this presentation features new iterations of recent multisensory works, including an ambitious new commission titled, Air Conditioning (2022) and a site-specific performance Daght Jawi: A Live Audio-Visual Essay (2021-2022), presented in the Foundation’s venue, The Flying Saucer. Together this constellation of artworks collectively investigate the boundaries between voice and speech; translation and testimony; representation and reincarnation as well the power of sound and image to operate as mutual progenitors of and in public testimony—dissonant wisdom is open for investigation.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic Image is curated by Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation.

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Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic Image

Kholeif, Omar

Omar Kholeif, PhD, CF FRSA, is a writer, curator and cultural historian who has curated more than 100 exhibitions of visual art, architecture and digital culture.


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