Zaatari‘s artistic work utilizes individual and collective memories as the primary source for researching and writing history. Documented in diaries and, most importantly, photographs, the artist’s recent works question the medium and its function in creating other artistic objects. Migration of individual photographic elements, their occasional withdrawal, and reappearance, and their mutual influence, and reconstruction are the processes from which he creates works.
Exhibited on the second floor of the gallery, the titular series of “three snapshots and long exposure“, 2022, focuses on the iconography of the city of Beirut after the civil war. Prompted by a commission for a book project from his then-professor of urban planning and design at the American University of Beirut, Robert Saliba, to record the mid-1990s debate over the reconstruction of the city center, Zaatari began documenting the center itself. The large-format photographs, which lack a contextual focus, may have captured an atmosphere of speculation, incipient gentrification, and urban change that was still present in the neighborhoods on both sides of the Green Line at the time.
While the new works in the exhibition take the formal characteristics of photography as a starting point, the works from “The Fold series“, 2018, illustrate the artist’s established method for interpreting photographic works. Each work seems to stand for a phenomenon that supports the interpretation of the image.