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 Nadim Karam  (1957 - )

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Lived/Active: Lebanon      Known for: avant-garde painting, urban design, sculpture

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in Senegal in 1957, Nadim Karam is a multidisciplinary artist known for landmark urban design and cutting edge painting and sculpture. A prominent figure in the Lebanese art scene, he attended the American University of Beirut and received graduate and postgraduate degrees from the University of Tokyo, Japan.

In 1996, he established Atelier Hapsitus in Beirut, a studio that the artist defines as "the satellite grouping of young architects and designers around happenings and situations." S ince then, Atelier Hapsitus has become a vehicle for Karam's oeuvre, boasting a number of works and projects that blend architecture, design and art while defying conventional modes of creativity and thought.

Individually, Karam has exhibited in galleries, institutions and art fairs worldwide, contributing to such notable events as the Liverpool Biennial, the Venice Biennale, the Gwangju Biennale in South Korea and SCOPE Art Fair (Basel).  With a collector-base across the globe, his work is housed in corporations and cultural foundations in the Arab world, Europe and Asia. Gaining critical acclaim for his urban art projects in Lebanon early on, he has been commissioned to produce large-scale works in such places as the UAE, the Czech Republic, Australia and Japan.

The former Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Art and Design at Lebanon's Notre Dame University, his influence has also been felt on an academic level. Recently, Karam's architectural plan, "The Cloud", made international headlines for its revolutionary ideas of how to reconfigure public space amidst Dubai's growing cityscape.  Initially submitted to the International Design Forum in Dubai in 2007, the concept outlined a massive public entertainment complex containing floating gardens, a lake, restaurants, a palace and a museum suspended in the air by rain-like stilts and covered with artificial condensation. Lauded as "mind-blowing" by The New York Times, Karam's proposal commented on the need for communal space amidst a landscape characterized by private spaces, suggesting the endless socio-economic possibilities created through advanced technology and avant-garde urban planning.

The whimsical character of "The Cloud" and its intended impact on everyday interactions and culture reflects the fundamental principles of Karam's art. With a distinctly international vision his paintings and sculptures draw heavily on his diverse background, transcending social, political and national borders and captivating the viewer with the childlike freedom and depth of his imagination.
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