The image is an encounter & as such unpredictable

Ended - Tuesday 14 December 2021

Walid Sadek is an artist and writer. He studied at the California State University of Long Beach (BFA 1990) and The Claremont Graduate School of Art (MFA 1992).

His early work investigates the familial legacies of the Lebanese civil war: Home Play (The Beirut Theatre, 1996); The Last Days of Summer (Goethe Institute, Beirut, 1997). He later began to posit, mostly in theoretical texts, ways of understanding the complexity of lingering civil strife in times of relative social and economic stability: “A Matter of Words” (Parachute, 2002); “From Excavation to Dispersion: Configurations of Installation Art in Post-War Lebanon” (Tamass, 2003); “The Acquisition of Death: The Ends of Art and Dwelling in Lebanon” (Al Adab, 2004).

His later artworks and published texts propose a theory for a post-war society disinclined to resume normative living: Love is Blind at Modern Art Oxford, 2006; Dear Stephen in Rumours as Media, Istanbul, 2006; Knowledge of the Expelled at the Gwangju Biennial, 2007; Mourning in the Presence of the Corpse in the Lebanese Pavilion at the Venice Biennial, 2007; On Learning to See Less at HomeWorks IV, Beirut, 2009; Inside Mourning in the Presence of the Corpse at the Hordaland Art Centre, Norway, 2014; “From Image to Corpse” (Naked Punch, 2006); “Place at Last” (Art Journal, 2007); “Seeing Rude and Erudite” (Third Text, 2007); “Peddling time when standing still, art remains and the globalization that was” (Globalization and Contemporary Art, 2011); “Collecting the Uncanny and the Labor of Missing” (Collecting Practices in the Middle East: Alternative Visions of the Past, 2012); “In the Presence of the Corpse” (Third Text, 2012).

More recently, his artworks and written texts begin to propose a poetics for a sociality governed by the logic of a protracted civil war and search for a critical temporality to challenge that same protractedness: Place at Last at the Beirut Art Center, 2010; Kozo Okamoto resides in Greater Beirut at the Auckland Triennial, 2010; The Labor of Missing at the Sharjah Biennial, 2011; The Wreck of Hope and the Other Side of Impatience at the Paris Triennial, 2012; The Boy in the Sickroom Reaches for the Door at the Lofoten International Art Festival, Norway, 2013; The Labour of Ruin at the EVA International Biennial, Ireland, 2014).

A volume of his collected essays titled The Ruin to Come was published by Motto Books, Berlin in 2016.

He is professor in the department of Fine Arts and Art History at the American University of Beirut.



12 December 2021: 7 - 9pm
13 Decembe 2021: 7 - 9pm
14 December 2021: 7 - 8pm


On Zoom


AED 190.00 (+VAT)

Zoom link will be sent upon registration.

Rather than a semiological approach to the image as text, as a code to be decoded, as a sign to be read and consumed or as representation, this three-day course with Walid Sadek posits the image as extraneous to intention, as an apparition that exceeds the artifice of the artist and the control of technique. The lecture will explore two particular visual traditions - or should one say visible traditions/traditions of the visible – that consider viewing of an image as an encounter with that which is not made by human intention or artifice. The first is the theory of the ontology of the analogue photograph, and the second is that of the Byzantine icon.

This course will primarily be lecture-based and will provide a close reading of important texts in both traditions. It will include taking a close look at early photography and at examples of Byzantine icons to see how both can challenge and enrich our apprehension of the world’s visibility.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. View from the Window at Le Gras, Paysage à Saint-Loup de Varennes. 1826 or 1827. Pure Tin. Héliograph on bitumen positive/negative. Plaque 16,2 x 20,2 cm
Chludov psalter - John the grammarian - detail - 9th century.

Opening Hours

Tashkeel Alserkal
Gallery, Unit 26, FN Designs, Alserkal Avenue
Sun-Thu 10am – 7pm, Fri 9am–12pm
(closed Saturdays & public holidays).

Makerspace, Unit 89, Alserkal Avenue
Sat-Thu 10am – 7pm
(closed Fridays & public holidays).

Tashkeel Nad Al Sheba
Nad Al Sheba 1
Temporarily closed for renovation

How to find us


Stay updated