Photographic objects have been the centre of Akram Zaatari’s artistic practice since 1995. Photographic formations or emergences, as he calls them, are the focus of this publication: enigmatic objects that bear traces of past events and accompany people through key moments in their lives. Cherished at times, destroyed at others, photographs are capable of provoking diverse and extreme reactions. Initially, capturing instances, they change over time. The perception of an image changes, but sometimes the physicality of the object itself is also altered as a result of its contact with the natural, social and political environment. The desire to own these images, to look for them and collect them, is rooted in a spectrum of motivations from the personal to the commercial.
In 1997, Zaatari co-founded the Arab Image Foundation (AIF) partly to contain this activity of collecting, but also to organise it within an institutional framework and give it form through an expanding collection, which itself is a result of multiple modes of acquisition. Less of a repository of documents, the strength and originality of the AIF lies in the critical intersection of two archival practices: institutional and artistic. Over the past 20 years, the AIF was the medium through which many of Zaatari’s projects and interests were developed.
About the Artist
Akram Zaatari has played a critical role in developing the formal, intellectual and institutional infrastructure of Beirut’s contemporary art scene, producing more than 40 videos, 12 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 and much more.
About the Publisher
Founded in 2015 with the mission of promoting the talent of artists from the region, Kaph Books is a publishing house based in Beirut, Lebanon, and specialising in quality art books on Middle-Eastern artists and art practices. Each book is unique, created with high technical and design quality in collaboration with the artists.