Tarek Atoui is a sculptor and musician who builds musical instruments that act as sculptures. The majority of instruments fiction as an installation that is also a kind of ensemble. He was the artistic directer at STEIM in Amsterdam


“Un-drum” Series (2009, 2011)

“Un-drum” was a performance series where several musicians as well as Tarek Atoui created compositions based off archival middle eastern recordings collected by Kamal Kassar. The goal of these compositions was to create a state of tarab; a trance like state induced by 20th century Arab traditional music.
according to Tarek Atoui-
“Tarab is not a music genre but a state of ‘melotrance’ that you reach after being exposed to music for a certain amount of time,”1)

From Architecture (2014, 2015)

“Tarek Atoui’s music and sound piece, From Architecture, was conceived in close relation to Frank Gehry’s building.

Throughout the summer of 2014, Tarek Atoui and four sound technicians recorded the resonances and vibrations of the Foundation. At the time of the Foundation’s inauguration in October 2014, this collection of sounds formed the basis of four live shows played by the artist and his guests.

In October 2015, Tarek Atoui moved into a new phase of From Architecture. To this end, the artist incorporated a new, electronic instrument, which sought to conserve the sounds recorded. This “table-instrument” houses high-tech software which enabled the artist to create different compositions and distribute them real-time throughout the actual architecture of the building, thanks to the 16 speakers placed around the venue’s spaces, including the outside.

Performances took place on the 22nd and 23rd of October 2015 at the Fondation Louis Vuitton with Tarek Atoui, Gaspar Claus, Uriel Barthélémi, Hélène Breschand, Carl Ludwig Hübsch, Susie Ibarra, Eric La Casa , Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Eve Risser.” - Fondation Louis Vuitton

The Reverse Collection (2014-2016)

Stage 1

Tarek Atoui investigated and pulled folk musical instruments from the collection of the Dahlem museum. He was intrigued by the lack of information on how to play them or their original cultural use. After pulling these instruments from the collection he invited a set of musicians to improvise on them and made recordings of resulting sounds.

Stage 2

Atoui asked various instrument makers to listen to the recordings and to make musical instruments to recreate the sounds. A number of experimental musicians and artists built instruments including-
Léo Maurel
Thierry Madiot
Vincent Martial and Max Hoton who make up the group Sonambule

These instruments were then exhibited in Mexico City at kurimanzutto gallery in 2014.

Stage 3

The instruments were then refined and displayed as an installation at Tate Modern.
A large group of musicians, mostly Lebanese were invited to play on these instruments in performances that increased in scale from 3-5 players eventually to a full orchestra of people.
There is a book published from the TATE modern show 2)

WITHIN (2016)

The Ground (2017-ongoing)

Interview with Tarek Atoui at the Venice Biennale-

Performance of The Ground at the Venice Biennale-


Bio on Tarek Atoui on the Kurimanzutto gallery website 3)
Book about his installation at the TATE modern. 4)
An excellent article written about the project 5)
Undrum interview 6)

tarek_atoui.txt · Last modified: 2020/04/12 08:25 by mete
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