Event Details

The Exhibition, The Other Side of Silence, an International Co-Production Features Major New Commissions and Significant Works from the Past 15 Years of the Artist’s Career

The first mid-career survey of work by London-based Syrian-Armenian artist Hrair Sarkissian—one of the foremost conceptual photographers of our time—opens 30 October 2021 at Sharjah Art Foundation. Taking audiences on an expansive journey through the hallowed squares of Aleppo, Latakia and Damascus, across the skies above Palmyra and over the snow-covered post-industrial landscapes of modern day Armenia, The Other Side of Silence brings together two major new commissions by the artist and more than a dozen of his most significant bodies of work from the past 15 years.

Jointly organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm and the Bonnefanten, Maastricht, the exhibition is Sarkissian’s most extensive presentation to date. Having garnered initial training in his father’s photo lab, ‘Dream Colour’, in Damascus, Sarkissian went on to study visual art in the Netherlands where he continued using analogue photography as his primary medium. Captivated by the possibilities of the medium, Sarkissian seeks to make evident the invisible narratives that live behind the unresolved wounds of conflict.

The Other Side of Silence explores histories of disappearance, the architecture of violence and the potential of the medium of photography itself. Anchoring this exhibition are two major commissions: a photographic installation, Last Seen (2021), commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Little Apple (working title) (2021/2022), commissioned by the Bonnefanten. The exhibition features an expansive presentation of many of the artist’s major works produced since 2006, including Unfinished and In Between (both 2006), Execution Squares (2008) and Final Flight (2017–2019).

Bonniers Konsthall is producing Sarkissian’s first major monograph, edited by Kholeif and Ringborg. It will be published by Bonniers Kontshall in collaboration with Lenz Press and designed by Hans Gremmen. The book features original scholarly contributions from major figures, including Marianne Hirsch (Professor, Columbia University); Hannah Feldman (Associate Professor, Northwestern University); Todd Reisz (writer and architect); and Vali Mahlouji (curator and psychoanalyst). A major essay by Kholeif contextualises the artist’s practice alongside an exploratory text by Ringborg. The foreword is written jointly by Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of Sharjah Art Foundation, Ringborg and Huijts. The monograph will be available at the exhibition opening in Sharjah in autumn 2021.

Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence is curated by Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation; Dr Theodor Ringborg, Artistic Director, Bonniers Konsthall; and Stijn Huijts, Artistic Director, the Bonnefanten. The exhibition will be on view at Sharjah Art Foundation from 30 October 2021 to 30 January 2022 and Bonniers Konsthall from 26 April to 19 June 2022 before travelling to the Bonnefanten, where it will be on view from 17 November 2022 to 14 May 2023.

The opening reception of Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence, taking place on 30 October 2021 at 4:00 pm. The opening will be accompanied by a conversation between Hrair Sarkissian and exhibition curator Dr Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation. The conversation will be followed by the signing of the artist’s first major monograph, published by Bonniers Konsthall and Lenz Press.

Courtesy of Sharjah Art Foundation

Image caption: Hrair Sarkissian, In Between, 2006. Archival inkjet print; 120 x 175 cm



October 30 (Saturday) - January 30 (Sunday)


Sharjah Art Foundation

Gallery 3 & 4 Al Mureijah Square


Sharjah Art Foundation

PO Box 19989, Al Shuwaiheen, Arts Area, Sharjah

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