Kader Attia

(c) Michael Danner

Lives and works in Berlin and Paris

Kader Attia (b. 1970, France), grew up in Paris and in Algeria. Preceding his studies at the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré and the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and at Escola Massana, Centre d’Art i Disseny in Barcelona, he spent several years in Congo and in South America.

The experience with these different cultures, the histories of which over centuries have been characterised by rich trading traditions, colonialism and multi-ethnic societies, has fostered Kader Attia’s intercultural and interdisciplinary approach of research. For many years, he has been exploring the perspective that societies have on their history, especially as regards experiences of deprivation and suppression, violence and loss, and how this affects the evolving of nations and individuals — each of them being connected to collective memory.

His socio-cultural research has led Kader Attia to the notion of Repair, a concept he has been developing philosophically in his writings and symbolically in his oeuvre as a visual artist. With the principle of Repair being a constant in nature — thus also in humanity —, any system, social institution or cultural tradition can be considered as an infinite process of Repair, which is closely linked to loss and wounds, to recuperation and re-appropriation. Repair reaches far beyond the subject and connects the individual to gender, philosophy, science, and architecture, and also involves it in evolutionary processes in nature, culture, myth and history.

In 2016, Kader Attia founded La Colonie, a space in Paris to share ideas and to provide an agora for vivid discussion. Focussing on decolonialisation not only of peoples but also of knowledge, attitudes and practices, it aspires to de-compartmentalise knowledge by a trans-cultural, trans-disciplinary and trans-generational approach. Driven by the urgency of social and cultural reparations, it aims to reunite which has been shattered, or drift apart.

Kader Attia’s work has been shown in  group shows and biennials such as the 12th Shanghai Biennial; the 12th Gwangju Biennial; the 12th Manifesta, Palermo; the 57th Venice Biennial; dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel; Met Breuer, New York; Kunsthalle Wien; MoMA, New York; Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; or The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York — just to name a few. Notable solo exhibitions include ‘The Museum of Emotion’, The Hayward Gallery, London; ‘Scars Remind Us that Our Past is Real’, Fundacio Joan Miro, Barcelona; ‘Roots also grow in concrete’, MacVal in Vitry-sur-Seine; ‘The Field of Emotion’, The Power Plant, Toronto; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; ‘Repairing the Invisible’, SMAK, Ghent; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; ‘Sacrifice and Harmony’, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Main; ‘The Injuries are Here’, Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts de Lausanne; ‘Contre Nature’, Beirut Art Center; ‘Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder’, Whitechapel Gallery, London; and KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin.

In 2016, Kader Attia was awarded with the Marcel Duchamp Prize, followed by the Prize of the Miró Foundation, Barcelona, and the Yanghyun Art Prize, Seoul, in 2017.


Residency Programs


Northwestern University Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Artist in Residency Award / USA


artpace, San Antonio / USA


The Banff Centre, Banff / Canada


IASPIS, Stockholm / Sweden


Grants / Fellowships / Prizes


Premio Joan Miró, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona / Spain

Yanghyun Art Prize, The Yanghyun Foundation, Seoul / South Korea


Prix Marcel Duchamp, Musée d’Art Moderne — Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris / France


Ruth Baumgarte Art Award, June 4th, 2016 at Berlinische Galerie, Berlin / Germany


Kunstpreis Berlin Jubiläumsstiftung 1848/1948, Akademie der Künste, Berlin / Germany


Paul D. Fleck Fellowship, Banff / Canada

Smithsonian Institution Artist Research Fellowship Program, Washington DC  / USA

Abraaj Capital Prize, Dubai / UAE


Cairo Biennale, Prize of the Biennale, Cairo / Egypt


Nominee for the Marcel Duchamp Prize, Paris / France


The Leica Special Prize / » Une Algérie d ‘Enfance”, Paris / France


Symposiums / Lectures (Selection)



Restitution—Reparation?, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca / US

Unlearning Imperial Rights / Decolonizing Institutions, Pembroke Center, The Brown University, Providence / US

10th Anniversary MoMA C-MAP Global Research Program, The Museum of Modern Art, New York / US

Master Symposium, Haute École d’Art et de Design, Geneva, Switzerland

The New Alphabet, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin / Germany

Museum Global, K20, Dusseldorf / Germany



Propositions #4: Unpacking Aesthetics and the Far Right, BAK, Basis voor aktuele kunst, Utrecht / The Netherlands

Migrant Bauhaus, Cube, Rabat / Morocco

The Hood Museum, Dartmouth College, Hanover / US



Artists, Museums and Future Collections, Goethe Institut, Kuala Lumpur / Malaysia

On Reappropriations and Reparations, European Academy of Arts, Cologne / Germany

La Colonie. Architecture and Ethics, SMAK, Ghent / Belgium

Making De/colonial Spaces, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam / The Netherlands

Situated in Translation: Global Media and Cultural Practices, University of Hamburg / Germany

The Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston / US



Körper. Kader Attia & Françoise Vergès, organised by Haus der Kulturen der Welt at the Department of Anatomy at Charité University Clinic, Berlin / Germany



Figurer/Exposer/Représenter le Corps du Refoulé Colonial, Collège d’Etudes Mondiales/FMSH, Paris / France

Abounaddara – The Right to the Images, Vera List Center, New York / USA

Usages Géopolitiques des Images, BAL – EHESS, Paris / France

Aritist Talk at Kunsthaus Hamburg, Hamburg / Germany



Kader Attia – Special Event, Whitechapel, London / UK

Kader Attia in conversation with Magnus af Petersens, Whitechapel, London / UK

Kader Attia in conversation with Koyo Kouoh, MMK Museum for Modern Art, Frankfurt / Germany

Artist Talk, NICC, Brussels / Belgium

Collecting Geographies, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam / The Netherlands



Suspended Spaces – Discover / Uncover Modernism, Paris / France

Whitechapel, London / UK

Document, fiction et droit, Wiels, Bruxelles / Belgium

After Year Zero, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin / Germany

Inventions et réinventions des arts primitifs, Musée du Quai Branly, Paris / France

The Culture of Fear: An Invention of Evil, Witte de With, Rotterdam / The Netherlands

HomeWorks, Ashkal Awan, Beirut / Lebanon

Curatorial/Knowledge, Goldsmiths, London / UK



Matters of Collaborations, Collaboratoire 3, Dakar / Senegal

Modern Monday, The Museum of Modern Art, New York / USA

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France



Suspended Spaces, Beirut Art Center, Beirut / Lebanon

Interface, Université La Sorbonne, Paris / France

Un Temps de l’Art, Université Rennes 2, Ecole supérieure européenne d’art de Bretagne, Rennes / France

Festival de l’Histoire de l’Art, Fontainebleau / France

Kunst Afrikas, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin / Germany



The Serpentine Map Marathon, Serpentine Gallery, London / UK

Warsaw Under Construction II, Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie, Warsaw / Poland

Void’s Geometries, The British Museum, in collaboration with the Tate, London / UK

The Falmouth Convention, University College Falmouth, Falmouth / UK

After Post-colonialism: Transnationalism or Essentialism?,  Tate Modern, London / UK

SITAC VIII, International Symposium on Contemporary Art Theory, Mexico DF / Mexico

Clinicas symposium, Mexico DF / Mexico



Eastwards = westwards, Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht / The Netherlands