Taysir Batniji
Interface, 2014
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
22.10.14 - 04.01.15

This selection of eleven photographs is part of a much larger series, created in Bahrain and first exhibited there earlier this year. Interface (2014) frames thresholds of various sorts: the meeting of sand and water, desert and town, with evidence everywhere of transition, disruption and disarray. Isolated piles of earth or cliffs of sand close off our entry into these places; the infinite horizon is suggested but seldom revealed. Buildings too are in transit, coming apart or being repaired, their back-story left unexplained. Human presence is never shown but is everywhere implied, in isolated trucks, discarded armchairs and interlacing red-tinged tire tracks. This is a land of in-between.

Taysir Batniji works in many media, including photography and video, sculptural installations and performance works. Text is often central, as in the recent Imperfect Lovers (2013), where two Arabic words in neon, “Revolution” and “Wealth,” are placed side by side. Composed of the same letters, the words seem identical at first, but a change in the emphasis of one letter sets the two words apart, revealing a natural discord. For Batniji, displacement, disappearance, and illusions of many kinds are central, continuing issues.
—PG

Image from the series Interface, 2014, series of 79 photographs, inkjet on paper, 80 x 53 cm (courtesy of the artist, Sfeir Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany/Beirut, Lebanon, and Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris; commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of Bahrain, 2013)
Image from the series Interface, 2014, series of 79 photographs, inkjet on paper, 80 x 53 cm (courtesy of the artist, Sfeir Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany/Beirut, Lebanon, and Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris; commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of Bahrain, 2013)
Biography

Born in Gaza, Palestine, in 1966, Taysir Batniji studied art at Al-Najah University in Nablus. In 1994, he received a fellowship to the School of Fine Arts in Bourges, France. Since then, he has been living in France and Palestine. His first show, featuring works produced in Gaza, took place in Paris in 2002. Since then, his work has been included in numerous exhibitions and biennials: Rencontres d’Arles (2002); C’est pas du Cinema!, Le Fresnoy, Tourcoing, France (2002); Dreams and Conflicts, Contemporary Arab Representations, 50th Venice Biennale (2003); Heterotopias, Thessaloniki Biennale, Thessaloniki, Greece (2007); Sharjah Biennale (2007); Palestine c/o Venice, 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); The Future of a Promise, 54th Venice Biennale (2011); Now Babylon, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2014); Recreational Purpose, National Museum of Bahrain (2014); and Everyday Rituals, Maraya Art Centre, Sharjah (2014).

Batniji was awarded the Abraaj Group Art Prize, Dubai, in 2012. His works can be found in the collections of many prestigious institutions, including the Centre Pompidou and Fnac, Paris; Victoria and Albert Museum and Imperial War Museum, London; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; and Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi. He is represented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Hamburg, Germany/Beirut, Lebanon, and Galerie Eric Dupont, Paris.

taysirbatniji.com