Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
Article 13, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
A far cry from the exploitative imagery used by the media, Taysir Batniji puts forward an interpretation distanced from events that mark out the situation in his country of origin, events which have prevented his return to Gaza since June 2006. Continuing the theme of a series of works produced by the artist since that historic date, Suspended Time is witness to a suspended reality, symbolized here by an hourglass placed on it side, which prevents the grains of sand from flowing freely. From this constrained condition which is a part of everyday life for the Palestinians, and takes account of the complexity of such a restrictive existence upon the individual, Taysir Batniji has developed a work in dialogue with a socio-political theme determined by a relationship conditional to space and time.
In the same way, Man cannot live by bread alone (2007) recalls the essential right of all individuals regarding the freedom of movement, a freedom expressed by Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and in which the chocolate inscription melts before its disappearance. Also, Untitled (2007) shows a glass copy of the bunch of keys used by the artist before his departure from Gaza, a fragile trophy from a past existence to which he can never return. Echoing the collective dispossession of land in 1948, since which date the Palestinians have preserved the keys of their houses in the hope of one day returning, Untitled (1997) also expresses the difficulty of a life of enforced itinerancy, here evoked by the imprints of rusty keys on rolled canvases.
To the eventalism of the narrative, Taysir Batniji prefers the more poetic, and no less conceptual dimension, of an artistic approach which avoids the clichés of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to better represent some aspects of it: a conflict between presence and absence, impermanence and constancy, immobility and itinerancy, deconstruction and restitution.
Translated by Theodora Taylor