The Other Side of Silence is the first mid-career survey in the Netherlands by the Syrian-Armenian artist Hrair Sarkissian (born 1973, Damascus, Syria) - one of today's leading conceptual artists working with photography. In The Other Side of Silence, Sarkissian reveals the muted wounds behind scenes of conflict, which are often realised in his signature life-sized photographs.

Hrair Sarkissian, My Father & I, 2010. Courtesy of the artist.

From 29 November, Bonnefanten presents the first mid-career survey in the Netherlands by the Syrian-Armenian artist Hrair Sarkissian (born 1973, Damascus, Syria) - one of today's leading conceptual artists working with photography. In The Other Side of Silence, Sarkissian reveals the muted wounds behind scenes of conflict, which are often realised in his signature life-sized photographs.


Hrair Sarkissian, My Father & I, 2010. Courtesy of the artist. 

Hrair Sarkissian, Last Scene, 2016. With thanks to Stichting Ambulance Wens. Courtesy of the artist.

Hrair Sarkissian, Last seen, 2018-2021. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Collection Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

Following its presentation at Sharjah Art Foundation and Bonniers Konsthall, the Bonnefanten exhibition presents the most extensive body of work, featuring two new commissions, Last Seen (2021-2022) and Sweet and Sour (2022), as well as works not previously included on the exhibition tour.

Hrair Sarkissian, Last seen, 2018-2021. Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation. Collection Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

“Through his life-sized photographs, as well as through moving image works, sculpture, sound and installation, Sarkissian seeks to evoke an emotional experience amongst viewers, creating a sense of awareness, and perhaps, solidarity with regards to shared human traumas.”

Dr. Omar Kholeif, guest curator and Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

Hrair Sarkissian, Execution Squares, 2008. Collection Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE.

Hrair Sarkissian, Unfinished, 2006. Courtesy of the artist.

The Bonnefanten presentation also coincides with a time, where there is an increase in global movement due to conflict and civil unrest. Sarkissian's penetrating works call on everyone not to shut their eyes and to remain open to what is not told and disseminated.

Hrair Sarkissian, Unfinished, 2006. Courtesy of the artist

Hrair Sarkissian, Sweet and Sour, 2022. Commissioned by the Bonnefanten. Courtesy of the artist

Hrair Sarkissian, Background, 2012. Courtesy van de kunstenaar.

Sarkissian's practice has involved recuperative acts drawn from personal memory, as well as a resuscitation of hidden histories, which have been developed through in-depth research and human encounter. The artist has continued, since his youth, to capture his images with an analogue large-format camera, where human figures are most often absent.

Hrair Sarkissian, Background, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.  

Hrair Sarkissian, Final Flight, 2018-2019.  Partially produced by Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE. Collection Bonnefanten

Hrair Sarkissian, Homesick, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

Many of Hrair Sarkissian's works emerge from personal seats of memory. These lines of inquiry initiate processes of detailed research and exploration. Born in Syria - the grandson of Armenian genocide refugees, much of his work can be interpreted as an investigation into the concealed emotional contexts that suffuse the lives of myriad diasporic communities.

Hrair Sarkissian, Homesick, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

Hrair Sarkissian, Transparencies, 2012. Vervaardigd met steun van Darat al Funun – The  Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman. Courtesy van de kunstenaar.

Essay Where Do Pictures Live?

Where Do Pictures Live? a comprehensive introductory and lyrical essay by co-curator Dr. Omar Kholeif, reflecting on Hrair Sarkissian’s art and life can be viewed here.

READ THE ESSAY

Exhibition booklet

Want to learn more about the work of Hrair Sarkissian? Read about it in the exhibition booklet.

READ MORE

Hrair Sarkissian, Transparencies, 2012. Produced with the support of Darat al Funun – the Khalid Shoman Foundation. Courtesy of the artist.

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Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence

The Other Side of Silence is the first mid-career survey in the Netherlands by the Syrian-Armenian artist Hrair Sarkissian (born 1973, Damascus, Syria) - one of today's leading conceptual ...

About Hrair Sarkissian

Hrair Sarkissian is one of the leading conceptual artists working primarily with photography. His professional career began in his father's photographic studio in Damascus, ‘Dream Colour’, which was also the first colour photo lab in Syria. He later would study in France and the Netherlands, graduating with a Bachelor of Photography from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, in 2010. Today, the artist lives and works in London. Sarkissian’s painterly images continue to emerge through his practice of large-format photography. Since then, his practice has evolved to encompass moving-image, installation and sound.

Sarkissian's work has been included in various solo and group exhibitions and is represented in the collections of Bonnefanten (Maastricht, NL), The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas, US); Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Salt Lake City, US); Mori Art Museum (Tokyo, Japan); Tate Modern (London); Sharjah Art Foundation (Sharjah, UAE); Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena (Modena, Italy); Fondazione Carispezia (Italy); The Khalid Shoman Collection (Amman, Jordan); and The Farjam Collection (Dubai, UAE). Sarkissian's awards include the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai (2012), and a Steenbergen Stipendium, Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam (2010).

Biography Hrair Sarkissian

Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence

Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence is a collaboration between the Sharjah Art Foundation (Sharjah, UAE), Bonniers Konsthall (Stockholm, Sweden) and Bonnefanten. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Omar Kholeif, Director of Collections and Senior Curator at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; Dr. Theodor Ringborg, Artistic Director of Bonniers Konsthall and Stijn Huijts, General Manager and Artistic Director of Bonnefanten.

Publication Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence. Foto: Bonniers Konsthall.Publication Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence. Foto: Bonniers Konsthall.

Major publication of Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence

The exhibition is accompanied by the first extensive monograph on the artist, Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence, edited by Dr. Omar Kholeif and Dr. Theodor Ringborg, and published by Bonniers Konsthall in collaboration with Lenz Press. The publication features original scholarly essays and texts by Stijn Huijts, Hoor Al Qasimi, Hannah Feldman, Marianne Hirsch, Omar Kholeif, Vali Mahlouji, Todd Reisz and Theodor Ringborg. The publication is available in English at the Bonnefanten museum shop: Price €45, ISBN: 9791280579010.

The exhibition is organised with: 

Georganiseerd door Sharjah Art Foundation and Bonniers Konsthall.

This exhibition is made possible by:

Made possible by Ministery of OCW, Provincie Limburg, VriendenLoterij and Fonds21.

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