Michael Najjar "dow jones_80-09"
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, aludibond, diasec, custom made aluminum frame
132 x 202 cm | 51.5” x 79.5”, edition of 6
67 x 102 cm | 26.5” x 40”, edition of 6
From the "high altitude" series, 2008-2010
In January 2009 Michael Najjar stood on the summit of Mount Aconcagua, at 6,962 meters the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas. The photographic material gathered in the course of the three week trek forms the basis of the "high altitude" work series. The series visualizes the development of the leading global stock market indices over the past 20-30 years. The virtual data of the stock market charts are resublimated in the craggy materiality of the Argentinean mountainscape. Just like the indices, mountains too have their timeline, their own biography. The rock formations soaring skywards like so many layered folds of a palimpsest bear witness to the life history of the mountain – stone storehouses of deep time unmeasureable on any human scale. The immediate reality of nature thus becomes a virtual experience.
Such experience of virtuality is strikingly exemplified by the global economic and financial system. If the focus used to be on the exchange of goods and commodities, it is now securely on the exchange of immaterial information. The information society has brought about a tectonic shift in our understanding of space and time. Humankind is confronted with a process of such dynamic complexity that the borderlines we seemingly identify at one moment are already sublimated in the next. In future the virtual value system could demand its proper reincarnation in the real world. The jagged rock formations of “high altitude” are emblematic of the thin edge separating reality and simulation.
Michael Najjar belongs to that vanguard of artists who take a complex critical look at the technological forces shaping and drastically transforming the early 21st century. Najjar’s photo and video works exemplify and draw on his interdisciplinary understanding of art. He fuses science, art, and technology into visions and utopias of future social orders emerging under the impact of cutting-edge technologies. Najjar’s pictorial language of form and content guides the viewer into a complex construction of simulated reality which is generated by the montage of multiple image sources and elements. He removes the photographic image from its historical viewing conventions and resituates it in a fundamentally new mode of perception. His work is grouped in thematic work series and distinguished by its supreme technical precision, innate sharpness, and highly artful reinterpretation of reality.