Tarek Atoui, a contemporary artist and composer, was recently named the winner for The Contemporary Austin’s 2022 Suzanne Deal Booth / FLAG Art Foundation Prize which comes with a $200,000 cash prize alongside a solo exhibition, publication, and affiliated programming. Born in Beirut, the artist currently resides and works in Paris. Based on research in music history and traditional music practices, his work reflects the notion of the instrument, and how it interacts with listening, composing, and performing.
His most notable works include The Reverse Collection (2014-2016), WITHIN (2016), and The Ground (2017, ongoing). The ongoing project is the result of Tarek Atoui’s trips and investigations over a period of 5 years, around the agricultural environment of Pearl River Delta (Guangdong, China). This research resulted, in collaboration with musicians and instrument makers, in a series of instruments presented at Mirrored Gardens (Guangzhou, China) in 2017. Each instrument has its own approach of being activated and all together they can be played autonomously in different sound situations to be experienced individually by each listener.
The artist told ARTnews in an interview that the exhibition he has in mind will look at the many ways sound can be utilized to “shift perspectives.” He explained: “It’s coming up with a project where research is based on human encounters and the reality of the place, and trying as much as possible to have an idea of a project that builds up from discussion, leaving flexibility for it to be porous.” Atoui’s solo exhibition is slated to open at the Contemporary Austin in spring 2022 to which he will move to get familiar with the city’s music scene, and then travel to the FLAG Art Foundation in New York later that year.