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Hamburger Bahnhof opens an exhibition of works by Lawrence Abu Hamdan
Exhibition view: “Lawrence Abu Hamdan. The Voice Before the Law“, Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum fr Gegenwart - Berlin, 2019, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, courtesy Maureen Paley, London / Nationalgalerie - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Schenkung Baloise Group / Mathias Vlzke.

BERLIN.- The audiovisual and installation works by Lawrence Abu Hamdan (*1985 Amman, Jordan) address the political dimensions of language and communication. On the basis of auditory perception, the artist follows traces of state or industrial violence as well as mechanisms of surveillance and propaganda. The Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum fr Gegenwart – Berlin dedicates a solo exhibition to the winner of the Baloise Art Prize 2018. The video and audio installation “This whole time there were no landmines” (2017) is at the center of the presentation. The work deals with physical and emotional boundaries in a haunting way and was purchased as part of the prize for the collection of the Nationalgalerie.

Shown on eight opposite square screens, the film and audio footage of the installation consists of mobile phone recordings taken during protests and the very first border crossing on May 15, 2011 in the Golan Heights, a rocky plateau region in the Middle East that had been the subject of various conflicts in the past. Israel annexed most of the Golan Heights in 1967. Due to the special acoustics, part of the region became known as the “shouting valley.” The topography enables communication with megaphones across the border and was important for the families of the Arab religious community of the Druze, even more so in the days before mobile phones. Two further works complete the exhibition: In “Conflicted Phonemes” (2012) and “Disputed Utterance” (2019), Abu Hamdan explores language analysis methods in connection with international court and asylum procedures. Abu Hamdan, who works with Forensic Architecture as a research fellow and sound expert, has been featured at key biennials in recent years, from Gwangju to Sharjah to Venice. This year he has been nominated for the Turner Prize.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Wienand Verlag, approx. 50 pages, with essays by Skye Arundhati Thomas, Ina Dinter, and Jens Maier-Rothe.

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