Lebanese artist and architect Nadim Karam’s multi-disciplinary approach incorporates painting, drawing, sculpture and writing. Fusing various cultural influences, Karam’s works transcend social, political and national borders, forming a unique pictorial language, replete with recurring symbols, and with its own original characters and narratives. They form an alphabet of sorts, in what is an on-going, sometimes absurdist, exploration of the creative power of dreams.
Renowned for his public art and work in urban regeneration, Karam has most recently been lauded for his architectural plan The Cloud, which made international headlines for its revolutionary ideas on how to reconfigure public space amidst Dubai’s growing cityscape. Karam’s projects and installations are interventions that seek to animate cities as diverse as Melbourne, Prague, Dubai, Beirut, London and Nara, Japan. These interventions often take the form of large-scale steel sculptures, described as ‘urban toys’ by the artist. For Karam, it is not only we, as humans, who need to dream, but our cities too – his urban toys are acts of whimsy and a rebellion against the soulless nature of so many modern spaces, bringing to life the environments around him. Says Karam: “Each urban toy has a message. An open message ready to be inhabited by stories which become mingled with history.”
Born in 1957 in Senegal, Nadim Karam now lives and works in Beirut. In 1996, he established Atelier Hapsitus (www.hapsitus.com), a satellite grouping of young Lebanese architects and designers, that seeks to create an original urban vocabulary though large-scale art installation and architectural works for various cities worldwide. Karam’s work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions worldwide including Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris (2013), as well as biennales such as Venice, Liverpool, and Gwangju. Past publications include The Cloud, The Desert and The Arabian Breeze (2007); Urban Toys, (2006) and Voyage (2000). A forthcoming monograph will be published by Booth-Clibborn Editions in 2014.