Khaled Barakeh, The Shake - Materialising the Distance, 2013, mixed media installation
Born in 1976 in Damascus Suburb, Khaled Barakeh graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, Syria in 2005, completed his MFA at Funen Art Academy in Odense, Denmark in 2010 and finished his Meisterschüler at the Städelschule Art Academy in Frankfurt a.M., Germany in 2013. The geographical shift in Barakeh’s life – moving from Syria to Europe – resulted in major changes in his approach towards his work; originally trained as a painter, he then developed a stronger concentration on conceptual art practices. Today, Berlin-based artist works in a variety of media, deliberately chosen for each project, focusing on the current and pertinent issues and often revolving around power structures in context of identity, culture and history. Drawing from his personal experiences – observations of both familiar and strange places, witnessing the repetitive and constantly unsolved social injustice through different points of view – Barakeh approaches creative practices as a tool of social changes. Barakeh is considered to be a part of global artivism movement – often focusing on topics of cultural preservation, aiming to see between the cracks of social and political systems, addressing them in indirect ways.
Through creative storytelling, Barakeh uses negative spaces in modern world – through acts of joining and separation, decontextualising and reconstructing the narratives, blurring the lines between real and fiction and highlighting presence by absence – that of words, objects, individuals, victims, bodies. His art practice can be categorised as cultural hacking – revolving around both personal and social narratives, it often transforms pre-existing materials, objects and data in order to change their contexts through repetitive acts of transformation. Through these actions, Barakeh aims to create new environments for the audience, challenging their expectations and pre-existing assumptions. He has exhibited at the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart; Shanghai Biennale; Salt Istanbul; Kunsthalle Brandts, Overgaden Denmark; Frankfurter Kunstverein; Artspace New Zealand and many other institutions and venues around the world.
Studio Khaled Barakeh was officially established in 2017, bringing together a team of professionals of diverse backgrounds. Focused on artistic-social projects on a variety of scales, activities of the Studio range from exhibitions and artwork production to social projects and other cultural-based activities. One of the most recent initiatives is coculture e.V. - a non-profit organization created as a response to mass displacement that focuses on providing support to the community of Syrian artists around the globe, showcasing their work to wider audience.