Taysir Batniji lives and works in Paris, FR

 

Since the mid-1990s, Taysir Batniji has produced a protean oeuvre—drawings, objects, photography, and video— that intertwines his own biography with current events and notions of history, impermanence, and fragility. Suspended Time (2006), on view at the 12th Berlin Biennale, is part of a body of work made by Batniji the year he left Gaza with no chance of returning. Placing an hourglass horizontally allows him to freeze a timeless gesture. In this sense, Suspended Time is related to another work, the recorded performance Voyage impossible [Impossible journey, 2002], which shows the artist incessantly moving a pile of sand from right to left, in reference to the myth of Sisyphus.

 

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Taysir Batniji, Suspended Time, 2006, glass, sand, diameter 10 x 27 cm, courtesy Taysir Batniji; Galerie Sfeir Semler, Beirut/Hamburg; Collection of The Palestineian Museum in Exile © Taysir Batniji / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Time does not flow from one place to another, so the hourglass becomes the receptacle for the performance, containing an equal amount of sand on each side. Beyond reflecting the direct and raw circumstances of social, historical, and geopolitical conditions marked by a state of geographical in-betweenness, Suspended Time allows the artist to transform and surpass reality by formally and conceptually expressing the impossibility of mastering space and time.

The work brings into play a perpetual flow between two cultures, two geographies, two spaces, and two ways of living between Palestine and France. The strength of Batniji’s work lies in the fact that it continues to reflect this space through an oeuvre that is open—always in progress, engaged, and embedded in continuity.

Karima Boudou

Exhibitions

Le Supermarché des images, 2020, Jeu de Paume, Paris (FR)

Taysir Batniji, 2020, MAC VAL, Vitry-sur-Seine (FR) (solo)

Taysir Batniji, 2020, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai (AE) (solo)

Ekphrasis – L’écriture dans l’art, 2019, Villa Empain / Boghossian Foundation, Brussels (BE)

Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2019: Rights of Future Generation, 2019, Sharjah (City & Emirate) (AE)

Sand Comes From the Window, 2019, Mina Image Center, Beirut (LB) (solo)

Gaza to America, Home Away from Home, 2018, Les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles, Arles (FR) (solo)