Michael Najjar

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Michael Najjar is a German visual artist. He was born on 31 October 1966 in Landau, West Germany. Since 1988 he has lived and worked in Berlin.

Life and Education[edit]

From 1988 to 1993, Michael Najjar studied at the Bildo-Akademie für Kunst und Medien in Berlin, the first private art academy in Germany, where he studied experimental and interdisciplinary approaches to the media of photography, video and computers. It was there that he first became acquainted with the work of the cultural theorists Jean Baudrillard, Vilém Flusser and Paul Virilio which exerted a major influence on his later creative output. He graduated in 1993. The marked global outlook shown in his art is colored by his life and work in Brazil, Cuba, Spain, England, Japan and the USA.

Michael Najjar currently works on a new series entitled “outer space“, which is dedicated to the latest developments in space technologies. He is also one of Virgin Galactic´s Pioneer Astronauts and will be the first artist in space. His flight is scheduled for 2014.

Since 2007 he is married to the art historian and gallery owner Dr. Sherin Najjar.


Michael Najjar 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“.


His work series "netropolis" (2003 - 2006) is an exploration of the way global cities will develop in the future. He travelled around the globe and climbed – often evading the security guards! - the highest towers of twelve megacities. His panoramic view transforms the reality of urban spatial structure into landscape. The digital fusion of panoramic views taken from different angles transforms the landscape into a woven fabric of relationships. The work shows the endless ocean of information, an all pervasive network. A compression of space and time evoking intense and constantly growing global interconnectivity.

high altitude[edit]

For “high altitude“ (2008 - 2010) he climbed Mount Aconcagua whose 6,962 meters (22,841 feet) make it the highest mountain on the planet outside of Asia. In the Andes Najjar photographed mountain ridges whose petrified zigzag curves served him as a representation of the monumentality of financial markets. He patterned the shots he took on the expedition rigorously on the fluctuations of international stock exchange indices. What he shows are the ups and downs of the markets, and how market reality and simulation are so intertwined as to be almost indistinguishable. What we see are the movements of the tectonic plates of the global economy over the past twenty to thirty years in whose course new peaks are thrown up and earthquakes and erosion are inevitable. Najjar shows the sublime in an age when information technology has become all-powerful.

outer space[edit]

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 2014 when he will be the first contemporary artist in space. The flight shall become a multimedia performance piece.

Selected exhibitions[edit]


  • Somerset House, London, UK
  • Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Galerie Sherin Najjar, Berlin, Germany


  • Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, USA
  • Salone degli Incanti, ex Pescheria, Trieste, Italy
  • Centro de Arte Alcobendas, Madrid, Spain


  • ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Museum Deichtorhallen, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, Germany
  • Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany
  • Art Stations Foundation, Poznan, Poland
  • CAC Málaga, Spain


  • CAC Málaga, Spain
  • Biennial for Art and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
  • TEA - Tenerife Espacio de las Artes, Teneriffa, Spain


  • Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, USA
  • New Media Art Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Leopold Hösch Museum, Düren, Germany
  • 5. Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, Darmstadt, Germany


  • GEM Museum of Contemporary Art / Fotomuseum Den Haag
  • Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China
  • Museo Es Baluard, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Birmingham, UK


  • FORMA_Centro_Internazionale_di_Fotografia, Mailand, Italy
  • Kunstverein Heidelberg, Germany
  • Museum Kunstwerk, Stuttgart, Germany


  • Cities, architecture and society, Venice Biennial - 10th international architecture exhibition, Italy
  • 9. Biennale Havanna, Cuba
  • Museo DA2 Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain
  • Centre pour l'Image Contemporaine, Genf, Switzerland
  • Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst, Oldenburg, Germany


  • Auswärtiges Amt, Berlin, Germany
  • Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany
  • National Museum of Science, Thaipeh, Taiwan
  • Convergence Biennale, Peking, China


  • Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain
  • Science Museum, London, UK
  • Photokina, Köln, Germany


  • Deichtorhallen, Internationales Haus der Photographie, Hamburg, Germany
  • Willy-Brandt-Haus, Berlin, Germany
  • Museum Traphold, Kolding, Denmark


  • Kunsthalle Hamburg, Galerie der Gegenwart, Hamburg, Germany
  • Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany


  • Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Forum Fotografie, Hamburg, Germany


  • Museum Ludwig, Köln, Germany


  • Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Forum Fotografie, Hamburg, Germany

Work series[edit]

  • outer space, 2011 -
  • f1, 2011
  • high altitude, 2008–2010
  • bionic angel, 2006–2008
  • netropolis, 2003–2006
  • no memory access, 2001–2005
  • information and apocalypse, 2003
  • end of sex.as we know it., 2002
  • schnittbilder, 2001
  • nexus project part I, 1999–2000
  • Japanese style, 1999–2000
  • ¡viva fidel! – journey into absurdity, 1997

Books & Catalogues[edit]

Bollmann, Philipp (ed.): "In-Sight - Photographs from the Wemhöner Collection", Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld, Germany, 2012

Najjar, Michael (ed.): "high altitude" Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld, Germany, 2011

Bollmann, Philipp (ed.): “Focus Asia - Einblicke in die Sammlung Wemhöner” Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld, Germany, 2011

Kolczynska, Paulina “Identity, or on a variety of perspectives” in: “Identity - Photographs of the Grazyna Kulczyk Collection” ex. cat., Poznan, Poland, 2011

Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (ed.): “Portraits in series - a century of photographs” ex. cat., Kerber Verlag, Bielefeld, Germany, 2011

Rau, Bodo (Ed.): “Architektur in der Kunst - Architekturen des Augenblicks” ex. cat., Bahnitz, Germany, 2011

Herschdorfer, Nathalie (ed.): “High altitude - Photography in the mountains” ex. cat., 5 continents editions, Milan, Italy, 2011

Melis, Wim (ed.): “metropolis” Stichting Aurora Borealis, Photo Festival, Groningen, Netherlands, 2011

Klanten, Robert / Ehmann, Sven / Schulze, Floyd (eds.): “Visual storytelling: inspiring a new visual language” Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2011

Damian, Angela / Azoulay, Eliabeth / Frioux, Dalibor (eds.): “100.000 years of beauty” Editions Babylone, Paris, France, 2010

Klanten, Robert / Ehmann, Sven / Bourquin, Nicolas (eds.): “data flow 2” Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2010

Klanten, Robert / Feireiss, Lukas (eds.): “Beyond architecture. Imaginative buildings and fictional cities” Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 2009

Kerner, Charlotte (ed.): “next generation” Belz & Gelberg, Weinheim, Germany, 2009

Sasse, Julie (ed.): “Trouble in paradise - examinating the discord between nature and society” ex. cat., Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, USA, 2009

Edgar Quadt (ed.): “Artinvestor - Wie man erfolgreich in Kunst investiert” Finanzbuch Verlag, Munich, Germany, 2008

van Sinderen, Wim (ed.): “Augmented realities - Michael Najjar works 1997-2008” ex. cat., GEM - The Hague Museum of Photography Veenman Publishers, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2008

Miha, Andy (ed.): “Human futures: art in an age of uncertainty” Fact & Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, UK, 2008

Bitforms Gallery / Galería Juan Silió / Najjar, Michael (Ed.): “bionic angel” Berlin, Germany, 2008

Scarpato, Rosario / Piccioni, Monica (eds.): “Map games: dynamics of change” ex. cat., Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China, 2008

Es Baluard, Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma (ed.): “en privat1” ex. cat., Museo Es Baluard, Palma, Spain, 2008

Sacks, Steve (ed.): “bitforms gallery” bitforms gallery, New York, USA, 2008

Explorafoto y Fundación Salamanca Ciudad de Cultura (ed.): “Michael Najjar - information and apocalypse” ex. cat., DA2, Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain, 2007

Ewing, William (ed.): “Face - the new photographic portrait” Thames & Hudson, London, UK, 2006

Herrera, Nelson (ed.): “9th Havana Biennal 2006” ex. cat., Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam Havana, Cuba, 2006

Sanz, Antonio (ed.): “C on cities” ex. cat., 10. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura La Biennale di Venezia, Italy, 2006

Panera, Javier (ed.): “Mascaradas politicas” Explorafoto - Festival Internacional de Fotografía de Castilla y León. ex. cat., DA2, Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain, 2006

Himmelsbach, Sabine (ed.): “Sichtbarkeiten” ex. cat., Edith-Ruß-Site for Media Art, Oldenburg, Germany, 2006

Bitforms / Juan Silió / Guy Bärtschi / Najjar, Michael (eds.): “netropolis” Berlin, Germany, 2006

Najjar, Michael (ed.): “japanese style” ex. cat., Federal Foreign Office, Berlin, Germany, 2005

Mellis, Wim (ed.): “traces and omens” Stichting Aurora Borealis, Photo Festival, Groningen, Netherlands, 2005

Szeemann, Harald (ed.): “The beauty of failure / the failure of beauty” ex. cat., Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain, 2004

Kemp, Sandra (ed.): “Future face - image, identity, innovation” Profile books ldt, ex. cat., Science Museum London, London, UK, 2004

bitforms gallery / Najjar, Michael (eds.): “netropolis” Berlin, Germany, 2004

Felix, Zdenek (ed.): “A clear vision. Photographische Werke aus der Sammlung F.C. Gundlach” Hatje Cantz Verlag, ex. cat., International House of Photography Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany, 2003

Goethe-Institut New York, Najjar, Michael (eds.): “Information and Apocalypse” ex. cat., Goethe-Institut New York Berlin, Germany, 2003

Triennale der Photographie Hamburg (ed.): “Reality-Check” ex. cat., 2. Triennale der Photographie, Hamburg, Germany, 2002

Philipp, Gabriele (ed.): “Mythos St.Pauli - Photographien 1967-2002” ex. cat., Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Bönnigheim, Germany, 2002

Klanten, Robert / Peyerl, Andreas (eds.): “Surreality localizer” Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin, Germany, 1997


External links[edit]