About the part that art plays in a globalising society

Framer Framed

Yazan Khalili

Yazan Khalili (1981) is an architect, visual artist, and cultural activist who lives and works out of Palestine and Amsterdam. Currently, he is a PhD candidate in the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis and just finished his guest artist in residence at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2020-2022). 

Using photography and the written word, Khalili unpacks and frames historically constructed landscapes. Borrowing from cinematic language, images become frames where the spectator embodies the progression of time and narratives. He weaves 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.

His background in architecture also inspires him to look at landscapes in a critical manner, deconstructing colonial visual discourse around Palestine. His practice engages with the settler colonial question, whether in Palestine or elsewhere. He has worked extensively on surveillance related technologies such as facial recognition and its links with indigenous masks and European recognition of who is human during European colonisation. He is interested in structures, institutional as well as other, and how those structures are built, and how they perform. This aspect can be traced both in his work at Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center, in Ramallah where he has been leading the institution, critiquing funding and the foundations of a cultural institution under settler colonialism, and in his recent installation on the roof of the Palestinian Museum where he has installed a large stone emphasising the ‘weight’ of art and the institutional responsibility that comes with it. Khalili uses multiple forms, however in his videos, photography and artist books his textual narratives play a large part. He is aware of the fluctuating economy of the image and the visual archive in our time, at many times alluding to it, and so ensures to add a scrupulous narrative over it. The tone of the narrative is never abstract, but mostly poetic, as if refusing to engage in a ‘factual’ tone, entrusting the language of fiction to the oppressed.

Yazan Khalili was part of the Framer Framed exhibition House of Wisdom (2017-2018). His work has been exhibited in various places, most recently at Documenta 15 (2022) in Kassel, Germany.

His works have been exhibited in several major exhibitions, including among others: Documenta fifteen 2022, KW, Berlin 2020, MoCA Torento 2020, New Photography, MoMA 2018, Jerusalem Lives, Palestinian Museum, 2017, Post-Peace, Kunstverein Stuttgart 2017, Shanghai Biennial 2016, Sharjah Biennial 2013. In 2020, he co-founded Radio Alhara, and in 2019 he co-founded The Question of Funding collective.


Exhibition: House of Wisdom

Curated by Collective Çukurcuma (Naz Cuguoğlu and Mine Kaplangı)


A Blow to the Snake Here: A conversation around Indigenous and Palestinian struggles
A dialogue on art, resistance and solidarity as part of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson's residency at the Academy of Theatre and Dance
Book Launch: Stories of Wounds and Wonder
Reading of the play and publication Stories of Wounds and Wonder by artist Nuraini Juliastuti
Towards Decentralised Art Infrastructures
A public discussion to explore blockchain technology for building decentralised art infrastructures.
Symposium: (un)Common Grounds - Reflecting on documenta fifteen
A two-day hybrid symposium co-organised by Framer Framed, Akademie van Kunsten & Van Abbemuseum