Khalil Rabah is a Palestinian conceptual artist who works in a wide variety of media. His method can be seen as a form of artistic science that focuses on questioning history and memory, specifically in the context of his native Palestine.
Art Exhibition: Ready Made Representations: 1954-2010 presents a collection of oil paintings based on photographs that span exhibitions of Palestinian art that took place in different locations around the world from1954 to the present. These photographs were collected by the artist over many years from newspapers, online, in gallery archives, or were photographed by the artist himself. Rabah has translated this research into photorealist paintings, thereby creating a series of work that explores the art scene and its components: the artists, the visitors, the curators, the collectors, the exhibition venues and institutions, and the art exhibition in itself. The work seeks to create a subjective historical re-mapping of exhibition-making practices.
Khalil Rabah’s artistic practice can be seen as a form of nationalist critique. This critique often takes the form of creating imagined national institutions in his art, such as The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind or The United States of Palestine Airlines. The Palestinian Museum of Natural History and Humankind, is a long-running project which publishes a newsletter with news and projects of the museum. The museum includes departments of palaeontology, geology, botany, anthropology and art. His work aims to replace the nationalist discourse with hybrid, hyphenated, and transnational identities, which interrogate the official version of history.
Khalil Rabah was born in 1961 in Jerusalem and studied fine arts and architecture at the University of Texas. Rabah has taught architecture at Birzeit University, and Fine Arts at Bezalel Academy, Jerusalem. He is co-founder of Al Ma’mal Foundation for Contemporary Art in Jerusalem and Art School Palestine in London and is the Director of the Riwaq Biennial, Palestine. Rabah also serves on the advisory boards of Delfina Foundation and the Biennial Foundation and currently serves on the curricular commity of Ashkal Alwan Homeworks Space Programm, Beirut, Lebanon
He has participated in major international group exhibitions such as in Arnolfini Museum, Bristol, as well as several biennials: Gwangju (1995), Sydney (1998), Sao Paulo (1998), Istanbul (2005), Liverpool (2008), Venice (2009) and Sharjah (2010). He has had numerous international solo exhibitions like 50.320 names at Brunei Gallery of SOAS, University of London in 2007. The next solo shows will open in June 2012 at the Beirut Art Center, and at E-Flux, New York. His works include 50.320 Names (2007), After 12 Years (2008) and most recently Biproduct, shown at Mathaf, Doha (2010).
Khalil Rabah currently lives and works in Ramallah.