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Taysir Batniji: Wallpaper-WV

In association with its pre-launch programming, Remai Modern invited artists to realize original projects exclusively for online viewing. Through these commissions, the museum considered its website as an extension of its physical space and onsite program. Mobile and experimental, this online gallery allowed for direct, personal encounters with art while connecting artists and audiences across the globe.

From 2016-2020, the museum presented projects by: Ryan Gander, Tammi Campbell, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Thomas Hirschhorn, Taysir Batniji, Pedro Barateiro, Kara Uzleman, Rosa Barba, Amanda Beech, Ellen Moffat, Duane Linklater, Lynne Marsh, Raqs Media Collective, Ahlam Shibli, Ann Lislegaard, Anton Vidokly, Dave McKenzie, Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory and Kelly Nipper.

Taysir Batniji started his Wallpaper series in early 2015 in the aftermath of the violent attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper based in Paris.

He began collecting hundreds of images of war and conflict from the Internet: bombings, weapons, arrests and casualties. Using these images to generate simple graphic elements, the artist reworked them into patterned designs. At first glance, the subject matter is easily lost in the colourful, decorative motifs. Wallpaper-WV represents the first time Batniji has customized this work specifically for online viewing.

As images of war are broadcast repeatedly on our televisions, computers and phones, we become desensitized. These images lose their impact and ability to move us. Batniji’s wallpaper patterning delays recognition, and it is not immediately clear what is being depicted or how to respond. Then, as the artist describes, “the viewer awakens to the information,” and is drawn with a shock into dramatic contemporary events.

Taysir Batniji (b. Gaza, 1966) studied art at Al-Najah National University in Nablus, Palestine. In 1994, he was awarded a fellowship to study at the School of Fine Arts in Bourges, France. Since then, he has been dividing his time between France and Palestine, developing a multimedia practice that includes drawing, installation, photography, video and performance.

Active in the Palestinian art scene since the 1990s, Batniji has participated in numerous exhibitions, biennials and residencies in Europe and across the world. In 2012, Batniji was awarded the Abraaj Group Art Prize. His works can be found in the collections of the Centre Pompidou and Fonds national d’art contemporain, Paris, France; the Victoria and Albert Museum and Imperial War Museums, London, UK; Queensland Art Gallery, Australia; and Zayed National Museum, Abu Dhabi, UAE.