Michael Najjar | Biography

The pace of technological progress has accelerated to the point that the future is happening far faster than we could ever have anticipated. Michael Najjar belongs to that contemporary artistic vanguard which takes a critical look at the technological forces shaping the early 21st century. In his photo and video works Najjar approaches art with an interdisciplinary mindset, transmuting the fields of science, art, and technology into visions and utopias of future social structures emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies.

Born in 1966 in Landau, Germany, Najjar attended the bildo Academy of Arts in Berlin from 1988 – 1993, where he was trained in the practices of conceptional and interdisciplinary art. During this time he discovered the visionary theories of media philosophers such as Vilém Flusser, Paul Virilio and Jean Baudrillard which have markedly influenced his later work.

In his conceptual work Najjar magnifies and re-examines the potential of the technical image through constant reconstruction of time and space using a wide range of techniques in thematically focused work series. These range from depictions of the human body transformed by biogenetic intervention, transformation of megacities through condensed information networks, and virtualization of financial markets with smart algorithms to the future of space exploration based on new scientific, engineering, and technological outcomes. His pictorial language of form and content guides the viewer into a complex construction of simulated reality generated by the montage of numerous image sources and elements. Alongside this, the performative aspect of his artistic practice has shifted into sharper focus in his current “outer space” work series for which he decided to become an astronaut and fly into space in the near future on board a newly developed spaceship. He now uses his own body for performative action, testing his limits in physically and mentally demanding, highly complex technical environments. Such extraordinary borderline experiences inform his unique photo and video artworks. Throughout his oeuvre, Michael Najjar repeatedly questions the relationship between reality and its representation through the technical image. His work is distinguished by its supreme technical precision, innate sharpness, and highly artful reinter-pretation of reality.

Najjar´s work has been included in many international museum exhibitions and biennials. Harald Szeemann exhibited his work in 2004 in ”The Beauty of Failure / The Failure of Beauty“ at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. His work formed part of the 2006 Venice Biennale's 10th International Architecture Exhibition, the 9th Havana Biennale 2006 and Convergence Biennale Beijing 2007. In 2008, a large-scale­, comprehensive survey was presented at the Museum for Contemporary Art GEM in The Hague. In 2011 he participated in the milestone exhibition “Atlas – How to carry the world on one´s back“, shown at the Museo Reina Sofía, ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art and Deichtorhallen / Phönixhallen Hamburg. In 2015 he was a selected artist at the ZKM | Globale where work from his current “outer space” series was shown in the groundbreaking exhibition “Exo-Evolution” curated by Peter Weibel.

He has also exhibited at the Academy of Arts, Berlin; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Kunsthalle Hamburg / Galerie der Gegenwart, Hamburg; Deichtorhallen - International Museum of Photography, Hamburg; Marta Museum, Herford; Edith Russ Site for Media Art Oldenburg; Museum of Art, Tucson; Science Museum, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Birmingham; New Media Art Institute, Amsterdam; FORMA International Centre for Photography, Milan; Centre pour l´image contemporaine, Geneva; Museo DA2 (Domus Artium 2002), Salamanca; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Málaga; Museo Es Baluard, Palma de Mallorca; National Museum of Science, Taipeh; Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.

Work by Michael Najjar is held in renowned museum collections, including the ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museum Deichtorhallen Hamburg; Gemeente Museum, The Hague; Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Málaga; Museo Es Baluard, Palma de Mallorca; and in many leading corporate and private collections. His work is featured in a wide range of international publications.

Download Biography as PDF