Taysir Batniji, born 1966 in Gaza, is a visual artist who works in a variety of media, including photography, video, performance, sculpture and installation. In 1992, he received a BA from An-Najah National University (Nablus), and, in 1997, a DNSEP from the National School of Fine Art (Bourges). Since then, he has divided his time between Palestine and France. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions, most recently at the Aperture Foundation (New York) and the Mina Image Center (Beirut). In 2012, he was a recipient of the Abraaj Group Art Prize. He is represented by Galerie Eric Dupont (Paris) and Galerie Sfeir-Semler (Hamburg/Beirut).
The exhibition Suspended Time held from May 3 to June 22 at the Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art in Toronto surveys Batniji’s major works of the past twenty years, with a particular emphasis on photography. Specifically, three of his most significant photographic series from his formative years are presented alongside selected sculptures and works on paper.
As a Palestinian artist who lives and works in France, Taysir Batniji explores in his work the social, cultural and political realities of Palestine, the challenges of migration, and the state of being “in between.” His sculpture Suspended Time (2007), from which this exhibition takes its name, provides an apt representation of the exhibition as a whole. In this work, the conjoined glass orbs of an hourglass sit side by side, with grains of sand resting in the bottom of each. In effect, time stands still, and the most potent symbolism of the hourglass – that of the inexorable passing of time and the inevitability of change – is neutralized. This exhibition invites us to consider the effect on one’s worldview when the natural forces that govern our lives – time, movement, change – are suspended.
Many others powerful pieces of the artist can be seen at the Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art. If you are in Toronto, do not hesitate !
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Wednesday to Saturday, noon to 5:00 PM, or by appointment
Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 124
Canada M5V 3A8