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Jordanian artist blends sound, politics for Berlin exhibition

By Johanna Montanari - Nov 07,2019 - Last updated at Nov 07,2019

Jordanian artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan recently opened a solo exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin (Photo courtesy of Maureen Paley)

AMMAN — Jordanian artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan recently opened a solo exhibition at the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin, showcasing video and sound installations.

Abu Hamdan was born in 1985 in Amman and is currently based in Beirut.

On his website, the artist writes that his “interest with sound and its intersection with politics originates from his background as a touring musician and facilitator of DIY music”. 

According to the museum’s website, his “audiovisual works and installations explore the political implications of language and communication”. 

The museum focuses on contemporary art and is part of the Berlin National Gallery, and is representing three of Abu Hamdan’s works, according to the website.

His piece “This whole time there were no landmines” (2017) deals with “physical and emotional boundaries in a haunting way”, showing footage of mobile phone recordings taken during a violent intervention by the Israeli military in 2011 in the area of the Golan Heights, which since 1967 has in large parts been occupied by Israel.

In his two other works “Conflicted Phonemes” (2012) and “Disputed Utterance” (2019), Abu Hamdan “explores language analysis methods in connection with international court and asylum procedures”, the museum website reads.

Abu Hamdan won the Baloise Art Prize 2018, which also included a purchase for the collection of the Berlin National Gallery. This year, the artist has been nominated for the Turner Prize, a British prize for visual artists.

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