Articles

Fire, Anger and Humiliation in the Museum. By Françoise Vergès, 2019

Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.
 Audre Lorde, 1982 On 2 September 2018, the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro was destroyed by fire, losing perhaps 90% of its vast historical and scientific holdings, including an important collection of indigenous art, and recordings of now-extinct languages. It
was revealed that firefighters had not been able
to access enough water, ladders or equipment,
that the museum had no sprinkler system and was not insured. It was unsurprising to many that the Brazilian elite, heirs of the owners of vast estates built on the dispossession of indigenous peoples and the…
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The Ambivalent Power of Emotions. By Giovanna Zapperi, 2019

The ways in which emotions are mobilised in the current political climate have become important fields of inquiry in Kader Attia’s recent work, especially as this relates to the legacy of colonialism in contemporary societies. The artist has long been engaged with the idea that we live in a world of entanglements rather than separations, against the widespread notion that cultures are autonomous and self-sufficient entities. In excavating the mutual dependence of modernism and colonialism, he has revealed the ways in which specific objects
and practices acquire new meaning once they
are dislocated from their original context. Attia’s anti-essentialist understanding of culture…
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‘Reflecting Memory’: In the Hollowness of the Future. By Jean-Michel Frodon, 2019

It is immediately very precise, very factual. Looking at the camera, men and women describe physiological, psychological, mental and bodily phenomena. The men’s and women’s names are stated, and they are scrupulously set in context – geographically and professionally. They are in Paris, Berlin, Dakar, Chicago, London, Vilnius. What they describe concerns individuals – their patients or sometimes themselves. Gradually, through their words, ever- expanding concentric circles extend out around a common centre, an absent centre, which is absence itself. Artists (musicians, a dancer), a psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst, a historian, a journalist and some researchers broaden the resonance of something
that…
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Reason’s Oxymorons. By Chad Elias, in: Kader Attia, The Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, 2018

Over the course of two decades Kader Attia has developed a multimedia practice that investigates the cultural, political, and social transformations unleashed by colonialism. Central to this enquiry is the idea of “repair,” a concept that the artist uses to connect otherwise disparate fields of human activity: anthropology, architecture, craft, medical science, and psychiatry. Consider his installation The Repair: From Occident to Extra-Occidental Cultures (2013), which juxtaposes wooden sculptures made by traditional sculptors in Senegal with archival photographs of wounded World War I soldiers, whose faces have been subjected to rudimentary cosmetic surgery. In a Western cultural framework, repair is…
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Kader Attia. Sacrifice and Harmony. By Klaus Görner, 2016

Kader Attia, who was born in Paris in 1970 and grew up in Algeria and the suburbs of the French metropolis, takes the experience of his life in two cultures as the point of departure for his artistic praxis. For his investigation of the far-reaching impact of colonialism and Western cultural hegemony on non-Western cultures he adopts a poetic symbolic approach and enquires into the identity politics of historical and colonial eras against the background of a globalised world. For several years, Attia has been focusing his research on the concept of repair as a constant in nature and human…
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Destruction et réparation. By Philippe Dagen, 2016

En se saisissant de la notion de réparation et en plaçant l’essentiel de ses réflexions et de ses travaux sous ce signe, Kader Attia accomplit un geste très singulier. Jusqu’alors, cette notion n’était pas apparue dans le champ de la création et de la réflexion artistique, et le mot n’y avait pas cours. Or elle touche à l’essentiel de notre temps. Par cette voie qu’il est le premier à suivre, Attia accède et fait accéder à une compréhension particulièrement pénétrante de notre monde et de ce que les arts en donnent à comprendre, bien au-delà du champ artistique au sens…
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Kader Attia. The Phantom Limbs in Art. By Clémentine Deliss, 2016

“Ceux qui sont morts ne sont jamais partis: Ils sont dans l’ombre qui s’éclaire…” (Birago Diop, “Les Souffles”, mars 1943) Since his seminal work on the gueules cassées, a two-channel projection that juxtaposed archival photographs of the mutilated faces of soldiers from WW1 with images of broken and mended ethnographic objects, Kader Attia has developed a unique continuum of inquiry between political, aesthetic, and architectural expressions of repair.[i] For Attia this word, with its mechanical, even domestic, connotations of stitching and fixing, extends beyond visible strategies of reparation and the discourse of restitution. He inverts the term to articulate the…
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After-Flow: Kader Attia’s Postcolonial Topologies. By Kobena Mercer, 2015

Post ... refers to the aftermath or after-flow of a particular configuration. The impetus which constituted one particular historical or aesthetic moment disintegrates in the form we know it. Many of those impulses are resumed or reconvene in a new terrain or context, eroding some of the boundaries that made our occupation of an earlier moment seem relatively clear … and opening in their place new gaps, new interstices.     Stuart Hall (1)   Encountering the two-channel slide projection in which tribal carvings patched with materials that came to hand are paired with the broken faces of World War I veterans…
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All the Difference in the World. By Manthia Diawara, 2014

Lieux-Communs I was introduced to the work of Kader Attia at the 2009 Bamako Photo Biennale. At first, I was intrigued by his color photographs of a beach, covered with large sheets of white-grey concrete blocks, like somebody’s bad idea of a conceptual art installation. Then, on looking closely, one discovers that the photos are actually of a real beach, that of Bab El Oued, a poor neighborhood in Algiers, where the government had erected these huge concrete blocks to prevent young men from taking boats across the Mediterranean sea to Europe. So the photo installation by Attia, entitled Rochers…
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On void and what it contains. By Jacinto Lageira, 2014

Any plastic material conveys socio-political meanings, even when its forms are clean, simple, seemingly anodyne and neutral, as though completely transparent. Donald Judd amongst others never ceased to assert this, thereby showing the error of excessively formalist readings of his work. In addition to the fact that a majority of receivers feigns time and again to separate content and form, content and appearance, or meaning and representation, such an attitude pushes us into the trap we wish to avoid, since the dichotomy is due in large part to socio-political prejudice. Seeing only form at the expense of content is not…
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Repairing, resisting. By Jacinto Lageira, 2014

The legal notion of reparations for historical wrongs is a product of US jurisprudence that is now recognized and applied internationally. Its claim is that History is now subject to trial, that reparations can now be sought on the basis of historical prejudice materially, politically and symbolically. (más…)
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Repair as Redemption or Montage: Speculations on Kader Attia’s Ladder of Light. By Kim West, 2013

1. Kader Attia’s large, multi-media installation The Repair: From Occidental to Extra-Occidental Cultures, shown at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany in 2012, was articulated around a series of striking, unsettling juxtapositions. On the one hand, there were photographs of horribly mutilated, scantly reconstructed faces of survivors of the battlefields of the First World War. On the other hand, there were artefacts – totems, sculptures, toys and tools – from different cultures of the former colonies in Africa that had undergone different processes of makeshift repair. In a projection at the far end of the exhibition space, images detailing the gruesome…
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Kader Attia: The Infinite Library. By Emily Butler, 2013

The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries. […] In the hallway there isa mirror which faithfully duplicates all appearances. Men usually infer from this mirror that the Library is not infinite (if it really were, why this illusory duplication?); I prefer to dream that its polished surfaces represent and promise the infinite… Jorge Luis Borges, ‘The Library of Babel’1 A towering structure of open steel shelves fills the room piled with thousands of books from floor to ceiling. Kader Attia’s installation at the Whitechapel Gallery offers the viewer…
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The Cannibalization of the Other. Mirror, Art, and Postcolonialism in Kader Attia’s Repair. 5 Acts. By Thomas Reinhardt, 2013

Acts of Cannibalism Around 1510 the Portuguese painter Jorge Afonso (ca. 1470–1540) put the final touches on a depiction of the Annunciation. The painting, in the Italian style, is an early exercise in central-perspective composition. The Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel kneeling before a lectern take up the foreground, while the Holy Spirit floats above the scene like a round lamp. A suite of rooms, stairways, furniture, and porticoes attempts (with quite limited success) to give an impression of spatial depth. In accordance with contemporary taste, the clothing, physiognomy, and architecture are apparently of modern provenance. The same is true…
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“The Sound Like a Rumour”. By Françoise Vergès, 2013

Never has the world been so rich, and yet never has it been so out of joint. The gap between the remarkable accumulation of discoveries in technology and science in the fields of biology, neurology, reproduction, archaeology, climate, astronomy, and of evolution is growing—and also between the ferocity of financial capitalism and the difficulties faced by societies in resolving basic problems (access to clean water, to health, to food). We are simultaneously told that the current globalization will bring a world of happiness for all and that the planet cannot support what is presented as the desired way of life…
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Randonnée: Objects and Quasi-Objects. By Ellen Blumenstein, 2013

The new Zenon, from Paris or London, called his method “randonnée” because two close and nonetheless differentiated relative words developed from an old word from the language of hunters: the French “randonnée,” wandering or foray, and the English “random,” chance, and because he wanted to unite the two meanings with each other once again, across the English Channel or the St. Lawrence River. Michel Serres, Hermès V: Le passage du Nord-Ouest Topos My place as a thinking being, as a being of this world who is irrevocably enmeshed in the scientific or cultural community, as an epistemology, this place has…
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Repair: Architecture, Reappropriation, and The Body Repaired, 2013

"From Antiquity, we have believed that we build, deconstruct, and rebuild, while all we do is repair." — Serge Gruzinski  1. Reappropriation (más…)
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From Holy Land to Open your eyes. By Serge Gruzinski, 2012

We remember Holy Land (2006), this Canary seashore that Kader Attia turned into a cemetery. It is on a similar strand that motor-boats unship stowaways who are in search of a promised land, at least those who didn’t disappear swallowed up by the waves. (más…)
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The Space in Between. A conversation between Kader Attia and Rebecca Dimling Cochran, 2010

Kader Attia is captivated by what happens in the space between things. He often inverts the traditional figure /ground relationship, focusing, for instance, on the environment created between two buildings rather than on the buildings themselves. (más…)
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Kader Attia at Christian Nagel. By Gregory Volk, 2010

BERLIN Kader Attia is a French artist of Algerian descent who grew up in the immigrant banlieues of Paris, sites of poverty, crime and, in 2005, massive rioting. (más…)
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Kader Attia, Centre de Création Contemporain Tours, France. By Nuit Banai, 2009

The implications of Kader Attia’s installation Kasbah, 2009, extended well beyond the gallery’s bare concrete walls and low, unfinished ceilings. (más…)
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Never Quite Filling the Void. By Anna Altman, 2009

Le plein („the complete“) – the formal tensions between presence and absence, the metaphysical distances between artist, object, and viewer – feature literally and conceptually in Kader Attia’s sculpture, photography, and Video. (más…)
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Kader Attia – Alpha Beta. By Storm Janse van Rensburg, 2009

Kader Attia conceived the sublimely dangerous installation, Alpha Beta at a time, perhaps surreptitiously, when knife crime in London hit headlines in tabloids and dailies in the United Kingdom and abroad. (más…)
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