Born in 1967 in Chbanieh in the Lebanon, Walid Raad is an artist whose work reflects the troubled history of his country of origin, which he has witnessed since childhood. By collecting, modifying and creating photographs, texts and videos, he plays on the idea of the document as it relates to the civil war and the troubles between communities which have shaken this territory. The artist infuses his depictions with a cloudiness intended to throw doubt on the notion of documentation itself, and posing a profound question about how History is constructed. His working method involves artistic processes such as montage, hijacking and displacement which he uses to create his poetic, semantic distortions against the backgrounds he manipulates.
Since 1999, this work on archives and memory through images has evolved around the Atlas Group, a fictitious organisation which produces, conserves and studies documents about the contemporary history of Lebanon, initiated and activated by Walid Raad. The artist is also a member of the AIF (Arab Image Foundation), an institution based in Beirut since 1997, responsible for collecting and promoting a visual heritage of the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab Diaspora.
Walid Raad lives and works in Beirut (Lebanon) and New York (USA). He teaches at the New York Cooper Union art school. An artist of great international renown, he has exhibited in Europe, in the Middle East and in North America, notably in a major retrospective in 2006 at the Hamburger Banhof (Berlin, Germany) then in 2010 at the Whitechapel Gallery (London, United Kingdom), as well as at the 104 within the Festival d’Automne in Paris (France). He has participated in the Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany in 2002, at the Venice Biennale (Italy) in 2003, at Home Works; a series of forums about cultural practices held in Beirut (Lebanon). He won the Guggenheim Prize in 2009. He received the Alpert Award in Visual Arts and the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize in 2007 as well as the Camera Austria Award in 2005.