The Banality of Terrorism
Globalisation and the new internationalism in visual art.
Khaled Ramadan was born in Beirut in 1964. In 1885 he gained his degree in Visual art from the Beirut School of Fine Art and moved to Denmark. He has continued his art education while working as a lecturer, sculptor, curator and writer in Denmark, Germany and Finland. His intention as an artist is to expose the danger that lurks beneath the banality of everyday reality.
Born in Beirut in 1964 Khaled Ramadan is no stranger to violence. But despite growing up in a country afflicted by war, or perhaps because of it, he decided to become an artist and graduated from the Beirut School of Fine Art in 1985 with a degree in visual Art.
In the same year he moved to Denmark, which has remained his base, although he now also works in Helsinki and Berlin.
Throughout the 90s Khaled continued his studies, spending a year at the Edinburgh College of Art. In 1998 he was awarded his Masters Degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture. He is currently carrying out research for his Phd. in art history. His topic is the socio-cultural mobility of contemporary art and identity. He is due to complete in 2004.
Khaled is also a member of a number of influential boards in the art world, including the Young Artists and Art Curators, the Danish Art Association, and the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art. From 1998 – 2000 he served on the Danish Ministry of Culture’s Development Fund Focus Group.
As a curator Khaled Ramadan has been responsible for a number of international exhibitions including “Nordic Object” in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2001, “H20” in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2002 and “The Right to Strike First Club”, also in Copenhagen in 2003. He is currently mobile curator for the Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art, a position he has held since 2001.
Growing up in war-torn Lebanon has clearly had a profound influence on Khaled, both personally and artistically. Those who have met him describe him as a “sweet, gently, charming pacifist”. Yet his sculptures frequently deal with violence and the tools of war. Max Ryynänan .MA, in his article “Terrorism and Aesthetic Experience” observes:
“Many of Ramadan’s works hint on the dark banality of terrorism, in some countries an everyday interruption of everyday life…..Most of his works are ugly. But their ugliness reinforces their meaning.”
“Ugly his sculptures may be, but they are in demand. Khaled has held a number of his own exhibitions both in Denmark and elsewhere, including the Gallery at Heathershaw Mill, UK (95) Agori Gallery New york (96) The Narva Art Museum, Estonia (98) Sparwassar” Berlin (2002) and most recently Landesmuseum Gothenberg, Sweden (2003).
In addition to his visual art Khaled Ramadan is also a writer and lecturer. He has attended conferences and held debates with artists from the USA, UK, Netherlands, Finland. Norway and Denmark. His publications include a range of articles for the art journal NIFCA between 2001 – 3, and a book project “Art Error” in co-operation with NIFCA (2001-2). His reviews have appeared in Kunst Forum and Frieze (Germany 2003) and Flash Art (Italy 2003).
In 2001 he served as co-editor of the art journal “Arsis” published by the art council, of Finland. He is currently editing a book “Peripheral Insider” which includes contributions from 13 researchers and theorists from Europe and the US.
For his work, Khaled has received awards from, among others, Amnesty International (92), The Danish National Bank (98) The Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art, Finland (2001) and the Nordic Art Centre, Bergen, Norway (2003).
Clearly, aside from using his own experiences of growing up in a troubled society as inspiration, Khaled Ramadan is capable of taking a wider view of contemporary art, of its place in modern society, and to consider the implications of globalisation and the new internationalism both for his own work, that of other vísual artists and for society as a whole.
Author: Julie Lerpiniere edited by Annika Salomonsson
Khaled Ramadan was born in 1967 in Beirut and has lived and worked in Denmark and in the North of Europe since 1985. He is a lecturer and a visual artist and received his Phd in Art History from the University of Copenhagen. Ramadan has a degree in Visual art from the University of Beirut and a Masters degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture.
Nordic Art Centre, Dalsaasen - Bergen, Norway, 2003
Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art - Helsinki, Finland, 2001
E.Hoffmeyer, The Danish National Bank - Denmark, 1998
The Danish Institute in Damascus - Denmark, 1998
Amnesty International, with exhibition in Politiken´s Hall - Denmark, 1992
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
Artists in Transit
(01 June 01 - 01 September 01)