Tarek Atoui

Born 1980 | Beirut
Lives and works Paris

Tarek Atoui is an artist and electroacoustic composer working in sound performance. After visiting Gwangju in September 2019, Atoui extended invitations to local instrument makers, artists, and craftsmen to work with him on original conceptions that revisit the traditions of drum, onggi, celadon, and paper making in the Republic of Korea. As such, The Elemental Set 2019–23 presented at the 14th Gwangju Biennale is the result of a collaborative research and production process spanning four years. The work is an ensemble of instruments, sound objects, and compositional ideas inspired by Korean musical traditions and the philosophy that lies within them. It reflects on ways of playing an instrument that rely on water, fire, and earth as well as their cycles of transformation. The work presents a soundscape that emerges from a series of innovative instruments and participatory workshops.

Tarek Atoui, The Elemental Set 2019–23. Ceramic, percussion instruments, water systems, sound and electronic components. Dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist, Commissioned by the 14th Gwangju Biennale, Supported by Institut français. Installation view, 14th Gwangju Biennale (2023). Image courtesy Gwangju Biennale Foundation. Photo: glimworkers