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Biography - Yazan Khalili

Yazan Khalili was born in Syria on 1 september 1981. 

Lives and works in and out of Palestine.

Yazan Khalili received a degree in architecture from Birzeit University in 2003 and in 2010 graduated with a Masters degree from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmith’s College, University of London. Currently he is doing MFA degree at Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. He was one of the founding members of Zan Design Studio (2005), and Beit Aneeseh Bar (2010), he was a finalist in the A. M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artists Award (2006), as well as an artist-in-residence at the The Delfina Foundation in London (2008) and The Danish Film School (2006). He was the production Coordinator for Sharjah Biennials 9 & 10. He taught Politics of Production course at the International Art Academy – Palestine, and co-curated along with Reem Shilleh the Young Artist of the Year Award (YAYA 2012). He also curated The City | The Image symposium with Goethe Institute, Ramallah 2012. In 2013, he curated The Long Journey exhibition, working with the UNRWA Audio-Visual archive for Palestine refugees.

Khalili’s photography is detailed, reflective and full of intent. Using photography and the written word, Khalili unpacks historically constructed landscapes. Borrowing from cinematic language, images become frames where the spectator embodies the progression of time and narratives. He has woven together parallel stories over the years, forming both questions and paradoxes concerning scenery and the act of gazing, all of which are refracted through the prism of intimate politics and alienating poetics. In particular, he focuses on the effect of geographical distance on our rendering of territory, and its ability to heighten or arrest our political and sentimental attachments.

Solo shows include, Regarding Distance at E.O.A.Projects, London (2014). On Love and other Landscapes at Imane Fares Gallery, Paris (2013). Landscape of Darkness at Transit Gallery, Belgium (2011); Urban Impression at French Cultural Centres in Palestine (2007/08); and Margins at The Delfina Foundation, London (2008). Selected group shows include Invisible, Ramallah, Amman and Rome (2006/07); No Man’s Land at Video Art, Granada (2008); Mapping at Art Dubai, UAE (2009), The Jerusalem Show (2011 and 2010), External: New Art from Further East at Newertown | Art, London (2010), Future of a Promise Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennial (2011), and Passport to Palestine, London (2011), #Come Together, Edge of Arabia, London (2012), Berlinale 62, forum expanded (2012), Re-emerge, Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013), Deep Into that darkness Peering, KSCC, Ramallah (2013). Additionally, Khalili was one of the participants in Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti’s project Ramallah Syndrome in the Palestine c/o Venice Pavilion at the 53 Venice Biennale (2009), and in the performance show The Tangible, with the Belgian group TG-Stan. In 2009, 2010, and 2012, he was nominated for the KLM Paul Huf Award. He was also nominated to the Bellagio award in 2013. His work has been acquired by the British Museum, Sharjah Art Foundation, and Imperial War Museum.

His writings and photographs have been featured in several publications, including among others WDW Magazine, Kalamon, Manifesta Journal, Frieze Magazine, Race & Class, C-Print, Ibraaz, Contemporary Art: World Currents, and Subjective atlas of Palestine. In 2009, alongside Lara Khaldi, Khalili co-curated We Were Never Heroes as part of the Jerusalem Show, and the film and video programs; Cinema of Independence 2009 and In The Name of the Father 2011 at the Arab Shorts Festival presented by the Goethe Institute, in Cairo. They also presented All the Other Lovers, a lecture performance at the NEME symposium Through the Road Blocks, Cyprus 2012, Love Letters to a Union at HomeWorks 6 symposium, Beirut, 2013, and Love Letter to Mars at OCA, Oslo, 2014.

De Palestijnse fotograaf Yazan Khalili is pas dertig maar heeft al een stevige reputatie opgebouwd. De biennale van Venetië (2009) kan tellen als referentie, maar ook Landscape of Darkness in Transit (Mechelen) ging vorig jaar niet onopgemerkt voorbij.
On love and other landscapes werd oorspronkelijk bedacht als boek, maar zal in KVS uithangen. Het werk leest als een fotoroman met 91 foto’s van Palestijnse landschappen die ‘doorkruist’ worden door een bijschrift dat zin per zin, foto per foto, het verhaal vertelt van een mislukte liefdesrelatie. Het is een grote maskerade van de fotograaf om niet te moeten kijken naar datgene wat het meest in het oog springt: de lelijkheid van de bezetting en de gruwel van de Muur. De foto’s uit deze reeks zijn registraties van voorvoeld verlies, van uitgewiste aanwezigheid. On love and other landscapes is een roadmovie doordrenkt van blues in een bezet land.  
His work has recently been acquired by the British Museum.

Past exhibitions in Belgium

2021ZW-ART, groupexhibition in galerie Transit
2017Dusty Glasses, parallel exhibition with Contour 8, with Johan Creten, Yazan Khalili & Anna Zvyagintseva
2015Aliens, galerie Transit Mechelen
2012On Love and Other Landscapers, KVS Brussels, 01.03 – 13.04.2012
Paradise NowBeursschouwburg Brussel, 21.03 – 25.05.2012
2011Landscape of Darkness, Transit Gallery, Mechelen, BE
Art Brussels 2011, Transit Gallery booth
Art Athina 2011, Transit Gallery booth 
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