Saturday 18 February 2023

Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence

Hrair Sarkissian: The Other Side of Silence at Bonnefanten Museum Maastricht

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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