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Article

Absalon  

Israeli, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 1964, in Tel-Aviv; died 10 October 1993, in Paris.

Installation artist, environmental artist, video artist.

Absalon lived and worked in Paris, where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts under Christian Boltanski.

Absalon produced maquettes for ‘Utopian’ furniture upholstered entirely and uniformly in aseptic white plastic. Totally impractical, his furniture simply represents a desire to mark a departure from everyday convention. There is a strong element of play in some of his work, as in ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...

Article

Armenian, 20th century, male.

Active in the USA fromc.1930.

Born 1914; died 1993, in Los Angeles.

Painter. Landscapes, still-lifes. Designs for stained glass.

After emigrating to the USA, Kero Antoyan became a photographer during World War II and then turned to painting. He exhibited mainly in California and devoted much of his time to teaching painting. He is the father of Ares Antoyan....

Article

Mitra Monir Abbaspour

[Fondation Arabe pour l’Image]

Non-profit organization established in 1997 in Beirut, Lebanon, with a mission ‘to collect, preserve, and study photographs from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab diaspora’. Its growing collection contains more than 400,000 photographs that date from the mid-19th century to the present. Today the Arab Image Foundation serves as both a public research archive and a repository for its members’ art and scholarship.

The Arab Image Foundation was co-founded by Lebanese photographers Fouad Elkoury (b 1952) and Samer Mohdad (b 1964), and artist Akram Zaatari (b 1966). Executive Director Zeina Arida (b 1970) has since overseen its administration and fundraising. A group of artists and scholar members, along with Arida, form the Board of Directors, which is responsible for the acquisition of photographs, approval of archival projects, and conceptual direction of the Arab Image Foundation. Members of the foundation, including artists such as ...

Article

Lebanese, 20th century, male.

Born 12 July 1942, in Beirut.

Painter, sculptor, photographer, video artist.

Kinetic Art.

Roland Baladi permutated various techniques, notably drawings and photographs, to produce the Photograms he exhibited in Beirut in 1962. In 1971, Roland Baladi exhibited a piece entitled Cinetone...

Article

Italo Zannier

British photographers of Italian origin. Antonio Beato (b ?the Veneto, c. 1830; d Luxor, 1903) and his brother Felice [Felix] Beato (b ?the Veneto, c. 1830; d Mandalay, after 1904) were for many years thought to be one person with two names, Antonio and Felice, and only recently has the mystery been solved of the almost contemporaneous presence of a Beato in two different (and often very distant) places. The misunderstanding arose from the fact that both their names (Antonio Felice Beato) appear on several photographs. A closer inquiry brought to light a letter written by Antonio and published in the French paper, Moniteur de la photographie (1 June 1886), in which he explains that he is not the producer of the exotic photographs recently exhibited in London, mention of which had been made in the Moniteur of 10 March; the photographer was instead ‘[his] brother Monsieur Felice Beato of Japan’....

Article

Martha Schwendener

[Ben Youseph Nathan, Esther Zeghdda]

(b London, Nov 21, 1869; d Brooklyn, NY, Nov 27, 1933).

American photographer. Born Esther Zeghdda Ben Youseph Nathan to a German mother and an Algerian father, she immigrated to the United States in 1895. She worked as a milliner in New York before opening a photographic portrait studio in 1897. Her ‘gallery of illustrious Americans’ featured actresses, politicians, and fashionable socialites, including President Theodore Roosevelt, author Edith Wharton, artist William Merritt Chase, and actress Julia Marlowe. Ben-Yusuf also created Pictorialist-inspired artwork like The Odor of Pomegranates (1899; see fig.), an allegory informed by the myth of Persephone and the idea of the pomegranate as a tantalizing but odourless fruit. Ben-Yusuf was included in an exhibition organized by the Linked Ring, Brotherhood of the in London in 1896 and continued to exhibit in the group’s annual exhibitions until 1902. Her photographs were exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1898 and at the Camera Club of New York in ...

Article

Geoffrey Belknap

(b Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort, March 8, 1831; d Alès, April 9, 1885).

French photographer and photographic printer. Bonfils is best known for his photographs of the Mediterranean and Middle East, particularly his five-volume Souvenirs d’Orient: Egypte. Palestine. Syrie. Grèce (1878). Prior to opening a studio briefly in Alès in 1865, he was apprenticed to Abel Niépce de St Victor (180570). Having travelled to Lebanon in 1860 with the French Army to intervene in the conflict between the Druse and the Maronites, Bonfils decided to return to Beirut in 1867 with his wife Marie-Lydie Cabanis and son Adrian to establish a photographic studio under the name La Maison Bonfils. From there Bonfils began his photographic tour of Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Greece, and sold his views back in his studio. These views included (he claimed) 15,000 albumen prints and 9000 stereoscopic cards. La Maison Bonfils became well known throughout Lebanon, the Middle East, and Europe as a première photographic studio and attracted many tourists seeking photographs of the surrounding area and peoples. Bonfils’s success was compounded when he presented his photographs to the Société Française de Photographie in ...

Article

Francis Summers

American photographers and conceptual artists of Irish and Israeli birth. Collaborating under a corporate-sounding name, Michael Clegg (b Dublin, 1957) and Martin Guttman (b Jerusalem, 1957) began making photographs together in 1980. Using corporate group portraits as their resource material, they made constructed photographs in the manner of 17th-century Dutch paintings. A Group Portrait of the Executives of a World Wide Company (1980; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 33) shows five suited men seated in a brooding darkness, their heads and hands illuminated in a chiaroscuro effect. The reference to historical paintings is made particularly explicit in The Art Consultants (1986; see 1989 exh. cat., p. 37): the figures are posed directly in front of a canvas so as to mirror the painted figures, illustrating Clegg & Guttman’s proposition that within the hierarchies of power, the essential nature of pose, emblems and dress have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. Pushing these images to the point of indetermination, Clegg & Guttman also occasionally carried out actual commissions (although not always successfully), as well as creating collaged and altered portraits such as ...

Article

Israeli, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1951.

Photographer. Multimedia.

A theorist and art and philosophy critic, he is also an editor and artist.

He takes part in group exhibitions, notably Implicit Connections in 1997 at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Article

Israeli, 20th century, male.

Active since 1972 active in England.

Born 1940, in Jerusalem.

Painter, video artist.

Conceptual Art.

He studied in Tel Aviv and exhibited in Israel from 1968. He has lived in London since 1972.

He has taken part in a number of group exhibitions including the Autumn Salon in Tel Aviv, in ...

Article

Hélène Bocard

(b Paris, Feb 8, 1822; d Baden-Baden, Feb 9, 1894).

French photographer and writer. He was from a wealthy background, and he learnt calotype photography from Gustave Le Gray and Alexis de Lagrange. In 1849 he was sent by the Ministère de l’Instruction Publique on a mission to the Middle East to record the monuments and inscriptions. He undertook the trip (1849–51) with his friend the writer Gustave Flaubert, and during his travels he used a modified calotype process imparted to him by Alexis de Lagrange. He brought back c. 200 pictures from Egypt and some from Jerusalem and Baalbek. The album Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie: Dessins photographiques recueillis pendant les années 1849, 1850, 1851, accompagnés d’un texte explicatif et précédés d’une introduction was published by Gide and Baudry in 1852–4 (copy in Paris, Bib. Inst.; prints in Paris, Mus. d’Orsay; Paris, Bib. N.; Paris, Inst. Géog. N.). It contains 125 calotypes printed by Louis-Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, and it was the first printed work in France to be illustrated with ...

Article

Tunisian, 20th century, male.

Active also active in France.

Born 1918, in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Painter, illustrator, draughtsman. Cartoon films.

Hatem El Mekki was born in Indonesia but moved to Tunisia in 1924. He started to exhibit his works at the Salon Tunisien in 1934. In ...

Article

Ray McKenzie

(b Chesterfield, Derbys, 1822; d Cannes, Feb 25, 1898).

English photographer. He is noted for his studies of the Middle East and for establishing the largest photographic publishing firm in the 19th century. He was born into a Quaker family and spent five unrewarding years apprenticed to a cutler in Sheffield, suffering a nervous breakdown in 1843. After two years recuperative travel he became a successful businessman, first in wholesale groceries and later in printing. His involvement with photography began at this time. He was one of the founder-members of the Liverpool Photographic Society in 1853 and he exhibited portraits and landscapes to much critical acclaim.

The sale of Frith’s printing firm in 1854 financed the expeditions to Egypt and the Holy Land that were to establish his pre-eminence among early travel photographers. He made three trips between 1856 and 1860 (see fig.). On the first, he sailed up the Nile to the Second Cataract, recording the main historic monuments between Cairo and Abu Simbel. On the second, he struck eastwards to Palestine, visiting Jerusalem, Damascus and other sites associated with the life of Christ. The final expedition was the most ambitious, combining a second visit to the Holy Land with a deeper southward penetration of the Nile. His photographs of the temple at ...

Article

Israeli, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in the United Kingdom.

Born 1967, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Photographer, video artist. Sound, multimedia.

Ori Gersht studied photography at the University of Westminster, London, and graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in 1992. He then went on to study for an M.A. in the same subject at the Royal College of Art, London. A year after graduating, he took up the post of senior lecturer at Kent Institute of Art and Design, where he taught for seven years before becoming a reader at the same institute until ...

Article

Patricia Strathern

(b Langres, Haute-Marne, 1804; d Courcelles, nr Paris, 1892).

French photographer and draughtsman. A wealthy landowner and scholar who travelled widely, he made numerous sketches of Islamic architecture (untraced; engravings, Granada, Casa Tiros) and he took many very fine landscape photographs. During his travels in Italy, Asia Minor, Greece, Lebanon and Egypt (1841–5) he produced more than 900 daguerreotypes, which were used to illustrate his book on the Arabic monuments of the Middle East; he also photographed French monuments (e.g. La Tour St-Jacques, Paris, 1841; see Berger-Levrault, pl. 72). His work remained completely unknown until the plates (London, H. and A. Gernsheim priv. col.) were rediscovered in 1952. One of the earliest French landscape photographers, he devoted much of his time to his home at Courcelles, where he became a recluse after 1846. His only known contemporary exhibition was in Granada in 1833.

Monuments arabes et mauresques de Cordoue, Séville et Grenade (Paris, 1836)Monuments arabes d’Egypte, de Syrie et d’Asie Mineure...

Article

Iranian, 20th century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born in Iran.

Collage artist, photographer.

Fariba Hajamadi went to the USA at a relatively early age, studying at Western Michigan University and California Institute of Arts, where she made the acquaintance of many American artists. From ...

Article

Palestinian, 20th–21st century, female.

Active in England since 1975.

Born 1952, in Beirut.

Sculptor, installation artist, photographer. Multimedia.

Mona Hatoum studied graphic design at Beirut University College before settling in London in 1975, during civil war in Lebanon. In London she studied at the Byam Shaw School of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art. In the 1980s she began making video and performance works incorporating themes of exile and the body, such as ...

Article

Mary Chou

(b Bethlehem, 1970).

Palestinian conceptual artist. Jacir’s works use a variety of media including film, photography, installation, performance, video, sound, sculpture and painting. Jacir was raised in Saudi Arabia and attended high school in Rome, Italy. She received her BA from the University of Dallas, Irving, TX in 1992, her MFA from the Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN in 1994, and participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program from 1998 to 1999. She became a professor at the International Academy of Art, Palestine in Ramallah in 2007. Jacir’s conceptual works explore the physical and psychological effects of social and political displacement and exile, primarily how they affect the Palestinian community. Her work investigated the impact of Israeli action on the Palestinian people and countered representations of Palestinians in the press as primarily militant. Jacir often collaborated with members of the Palestinian community, both local and international, in the creation of her works....

Article

Vanessa Rocco

(b Tambov, April 8, 1908; d London, Dec 24, 1974).

Russian-born photographer of Armenian heritage active in Britain. Kar is best known for her idiosyncratic and telling photographic portraits of writers and artists, particularly those within her circle of post-war London. She moved with her parents to Egypt in 1921 and studied at the prestigious Lycée Français in Alexandria. At age 20 she moved to Paris, became enamoured of Surrealism, and worked as an apprentice in the photographic studio of the German Heinrich Heidersberger (1906–2006). She returned to Egypt in 1933 and later opened a photography studio called ‘Idabel’ with her husband Edmond Belali, then in 1945 relocated her portrait practice to London with her second husband, the art dealer Victor Musgrave (1919–84). In London Kar cultivated a roster of painters, sculptors, authors, and actors as clients. Closely cropped portraits of the painter Bridget Riley (1963, see fig.) and the sculptor Dame Barbara Hepworth (...