Khalili was born in 1981, and received a degree in Architecture from Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine in 2003, graduating in 2010 with a Master’s degree from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmith’s College, University of London. Khalili completed residencies at the Delfina Foundation, London, UK, in 2008 and the National Film School of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark in 2006. Khalili is currently pursuing an MFA degree at Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam.
Khalili’s photography is detailed, reflective and full of intent. He uses photography and the written word to unravel historically constructed landscapes. Borrowing from cinematic language, the images he captures become frames where the spectator embodies the progression of time and narratives. Khalili intermingles parallel stories, raising questions and forming paradoxes concerning scenery and the act of gazing, all of which are influenced by intimate politics and alienating poetics. Khalili’s work explores the effect of geographical distance on our interpretation of territory, and its ability to amplify or arrest our political and sentimental attachments.
Yazan Khalili has taken part in a number of solo exhibitions including: No One Saw the Colors, Kungstofren'ngen GL Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2018; On the Other Side of the Law, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2017; Blindness of Love, Present Future, Artissima, with Lawrie Shabibi, Turin, Italy, 2015; On Love and Other Landscapes, Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai, India, 2015; The Aliens, Transit Gallery, Mechelen, Belgium, 2015; Regarding Distance, Edge Of Arabia Projects, London, UK, 2014; On Love and other Landscapes, Imane Fares Gallery, Paris, France, 2013; Landscape of Darkness, Transit Gallery, Mechelen, Belgium, 2011; Margins, The Delfina Foundation, London, UK, 2008; and Urban Impression, French Cultural Center, Gaza, Palestine, 2007.
He has participated in several group exhibitions including: Being: New Photography 2018, MoMA, New York, 2018; Jerusalem Lives (Tahya Al Quds), Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Palestine, 2017; Why Not Ask Again? Maneuvers, Disputations & Stories, 11th Shanghai Biennale, Power Station of Art Museum, Shanghai, China, 2016-17; forthcoming: In Search of the Present, Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Finland, 2016-17; forthcoming: The Plough and Other Stars, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland, 2016-17; After the Last Sky, Berlin, Germany, 2016; But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2016; Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, Ramallah, Palestine, 2016; EXTRACT V, Kunstforeningen GL Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2015; A Million Lines, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art, Krakow, Poland, 2015; First Biennial of Photography by Contemporary Arab Artists, Institut du Monde Arabe & Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France, 2015; The Island, Absolut Art Bar, Art Dubai, Dubai, UAE, 2015; On Love and Other Landscapes, LA MER AU MILIEU DES TERRES // MARE MEDI TERRANEUM, Es Baluard Museu d’Art Modern i Contemporani de Palma, Illes Balears, Spain, 2015; Love Letters to a Union / The Falling Camrades, Forum Expanded, Berlinale, Berlin, Germany, 2015; Blindness of Love, Eye on Palestine, Brussels, Belgium, 2014; Love Letter to Mars, OCA, Oslo, Norway, 2014; Love Letter to Mars, Al-Mawred Al-Thaqafi, Cairo, Egypt, 2014; Simple Standing Triangle, UnMapping the World, Experimenta Design, Lisbon, Portugal, 2013; Landscape of Darkness, Deep Into That Darkness Peering, KSCC, Ramallah, Palestine, 2013; Scouting for Locations: Traces of a Scream, Re-emerge, Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, UAE, 2013; Color Correction III, Editions #1, Edge of Arabia, London, UK, 2013; Blindness of Love, The Lonely Crowd, /si:n/ Festival, Ramallah, Palestine, 2013; Love Letters to a Union, HomeWorks 6, Ashkal Alwan, Beirut, Lebanon, 2013; Color Correction III, #Cometogether, Edge of Arabia, London, UK, 2012; On Love and Other Landscapes, Right to Refusal, Bregenz, Austria, 2012; On Love and Other Landscapes, Forum Expanded, Berlinale 62, Berlin, Germany, 2012; On Love and Other Landscapes, KVS, Brussels, Belgium, 2012; Color Correction I, II, III, Beyond the Last Sky, Sydney, Australia, 2012; On Love and Other Landscapes, Eye on Palestine, Brussels, Belgium, 2012; Color Correction I, II, III, PARADISE NOW, Beursschouwburg, Brussels, Belgium, 2012; Love Letters to a Union, Through the Roadblocks, Limassol, Cyprus, 2012; and Color Correction I, Future of a Promise Pavilion, 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2011.
Khalili’s work is in several prominent collections including the Lewben Art Foundation, Vilnius, Lithuania; Videoinsight Foundation, Turin, Italy; the British Museum, London, UK; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE, Imperial War Museum, London, UK and Dar El-Nimer Collection, Beirut, Lebanon.
In 2015 Khalili received the EXTRACT Young Art Prize, Kunstforeningen GL Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark as well as grants from the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture and the Young Arab Theatre Fund. In 2006 Khalili received the A.M. Qattan Foundation’s Young Artists Award and was nominated for the KLM Paul Huf Award in 2009, 2010 and 2012, as well as the Bellagio Award in 2013.
In 2017, Khalili authored Scouting for Locations published by Sharjah Art Foundation as an extension of Yazan Khalili's installation commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 11.
Khalili currently lives and works in and out of Palestine.