Artist’s Rooms: Taysir Batniji

Taysir Batniji’s site-specific performative installation Hannoun features a room that mirrors the size of the artist’s studio space in Gaza, a place that is now inaccessible. Batniji’s studio was completed in 2001; however, he left Gaza shortly after, returning each year until 2006 when border closures prevented further access. His studio has been abandoned ever since and was recently bombed by the Israeli occupation army during the ongoing genocide.  

Hannoun was inspired by a childhood memory from 1972, in which Batniji avoided doing his schoolwork by sharpening pencils. The floor of the room is scattered with red pencil shavings, leading to a picture of Batniji’s studio at the end. The shavings, resembling a field of poppies, are a national symbol of Palestine, embodying the colours of the Palestinian flag and often associated with the memory of martyrs.  

Hannoun can be seen as an intimate space of meditation and dreaming, while also creating an impassable threshold. This piece follows several performative projects by the artist, that evoke notions of memory, erasure, non-being, and destruction/construction or deconstruction/restitution.

About the Artist 

Taysir Batniji (b. 1966 Gaza, lives and works between Paris and Palestine) graduated in arts from Al-Najah University in Nablus, Palestine (1994), and from the School of Fine Arts of Bourges in France (1997). Since then, he has been dividing his time between two countries and cultures, from where he develops a multi-media practice, including drawing, installation, photography, video and performance. Often tinged with impermanence and fragility, Batniji’s artworks draw inspiration from his subjective story, but also from current events and history.

Batniji has participated in numerous group exhibitions and biennials, including the Berlin Biennale (2022), Centre Pompidou (2014), Istanbul Biennial (2012), the Venice Biennale (2011, 2009 & 2003) and many others. In recent years he has held solo exhibitions at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art (2022), MAC VAL (2021) and Les Rencontres d’Arles (2018). He was awarded the Immersion residency programme, supported by the Hermès Foundation, in alliance with the Aperture Foundation in 2017 and the Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2012.

Please download the artist’s text for Hannoun here.

Largely drawn from the Art Jameel Collection, ‘Artist’s Rooms’ is a series of capsule solo exhibitions, curated in collaborative dialogue with the artist. 



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Artist’s Rooms : Taysir Batniji

June 12, 2020 - January 3, 2021