press release

Lawrence Abu Hamdan: The Sonic Image
4 March—4 July 2022

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? Does the experience of listening—the nuances of a cyclic stutter or the incongruency of an anxious murmur—reveal intricate details of the contested social, political and economic spheres in which we live? In the multi-sensory exhibition, The Sonic Image, award-winning artist and ‘private ear’ Lawrence Abu Hamdan presents various studies of splintered aural leaks. Through detailed examination and experiment, the artist seeks to ‘claim’ a new form of image-making—a new aesthetic politics. ‘What does it mean to sonify images?’, asks Abu Hamdan. Can one perceive 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 colonisation, Abu Hamdan has created a distinctive practice of visual expression. In The Sonic Image, 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 solo exhibition of recent works by the artist to date, this presentation features installations, a major new commission titled, Air Conditioning (2022) and a site-specific performance, which 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 Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator, Sharjah Art Foundation.