Michael Najjar


Michael Najjar

Portrait photo © Thomas Rusch

Michael Najjar is a German artist, adventurer and – future astronaut. Born in 1966, he has lived and worked in Berlin since 1988. His work is shown in museums, galleries and biennials around the world.

He works with Photography and Video. The focus of his work is on key elements of our modern society driven and controlled by computer and information technologies. Najjar, widely seen as a visual futurist, transmutes science, history and philosophy into visions and utopias of future social structures emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies. The fusion of realistic elements with fictitious realities, is a recurrent hallmark in his work which is usually composed in thematically focused series. Najjar demonstrates the potential of the photographic image, capable of making visible what is normally invisible to the human eye. His work visualizes what very often is beyond the limits of our perception, unveiling what is hidden under the surface of what he calls “telematic society“.

Now Michael Najjar will go to even higher altitudes in his new series entitled “outer space“. He believes that “Today we are on the verge of another new era in space exploration and travel. It’s a transformational time for the space industry and scientific research with huge implications for the future of humankind and the relationship to our homeplanet”. Najjar himself will undergo intensive cosmonaut training in Russia, including jet fighter flights in the stratosphere, Zero G and centrifuge training, spacewalk simulation and computer simulations on the Soyuz spacecraft. The ultimate experience will be his own spaceflight as one of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic Pioneer Astronauts. His flight is scheduled for 2013 when he will be the first contemporary artist in space. The flight shall become a multimedia performance piece.

Michael 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 was part of the 2006 Venice Biennale’s 10th International Architecture Exhibition; he was also included in the 9th Havana Biennale 2006 and Convergence Biennale Beijing 2007.
In 2008 Michael Najjar had his first mid-career retrospective at the Museum for Photography and 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.

He has also exhibited at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Kunsthalle Hamburg / Galerie der Gegenwart, Hamburg; Deichtorhallen – International Museum of Photography, Hamburg; Edith Russ Site for Media Art, Oldenburg; Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Berlin; Goethe Institute, New York; Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson; Science Museum, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Birmingham; New Media Art Institute, Amsterdam; Museum Trapholt, Kolding; FORMA International Centre for Photography, Milan; Centre pour l´ image contemporaine, Geneva; Museo DA2 (Domus Artium 2002), Salamanca; Museo CAC, Málaga; Museo Es Baluard, Palma, Mallorca; National Museum of Science, Taipeh; Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing.

He is represented in numerous public collections including ZKM Museum for Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museum Deichtorhallen Hamburg; Gemeente Museum, The Hague; CAC Museum Málaga and in many leading corporate and private collections.

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Michael Najjar on anti-utopias

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