The exhibition Kader Attia 2009:2019 Films is the third one-man showcasing work by Kader Attia at the Galerie Krinzinger. This exhibition will present a selection of his most important films and videos.
Raised in an Algerian family, Attila grew up in a multi-ethnic setting in a Parisian suburb. Already early in life he showed an interest for socio-cultural phenomena, especially those related to and resulting from colonialism. Kader Attia has explored these phenomena in a variety of disciplines such as psychoanalysis, sociology, architecture and philosophy. His explorations have culminated in the concept of Repair, which means both reparation as well as restitution. Attia's films, some of which consist of interviews and portraits of individuals and societies, give compelling testimony of the broad spectrum of his research. According to Kader Attia there are numerous processes of repair to be found in each system and in each cultural tradition.
Kader Attia has a gift for verbal and visual plays on words, for connecting seeming non-related things and for forging new meanings. The double projection Open your eyes is based on Kader Attia's extensive exploration of modern Western aesthetics. The focus on repairing the human body is something he compares with the development of repair in cultures outside of Western culture. Attia structures pictures in a similar slide show, adding statements that refer to modernity, its tradition and controversies. There are links to be found between the scarred faces of World War 1 veterans and members of African tribes, between the emotions that are triggered by authoritarian dictators and jazz singers, and even between a Congolese sikness mask and Edvard Munch's The Cry.
In La Tour Robespierre a camera slowly pans over the high facade of the Robespierre tower–a rather drab looking tenement building in a Parisian banlieue, a place where mainly immigrants settled. The gaze that has arrived at the top of the roof, with a view of the city in the background, will presumably provide some relief.
Kader Attia's interest in the personal history of individuals in marginalized societies is also reflected in his documentary films on Algerian transexuals in Paris. In Collages Kader Attia geographically widens his intensive engagement with the theme to include Algiers and Mumbai. In this film he goes way beyond the subject of sexuality and questions the tradition and modernity of various cultural backgrounds and ideologies.
Reflecting Memory (2016), a video on the phantom-limb syndrome, for which he was awarded the renowned Marcel-Duchamp price, strongly relates to his earlier Repair pieces. The main focus here are individuals who have lost body parts but continue to feel pain in their amputated limbs. The film also refers to a form of therapy, in which mirrors are used to help the afflicted individual visualise their phantom pain. In some patients their pain decreased when the mirrors were gradually removed. Attia is referring to the theme of Repair in connection with psychological healing. Repair for him is also a metaphor for cultural assimilation and resistance. In interviews with psychoanalysts, surgeons and scholars he also studies how collective groups can also suffer the same symptoms when they deny the existence of trauma or do not engage with their past collective crimes.
In 2016 Kader Attia created La Colonie a space in Paris that was supposed to serve for discussions on these collective traumas. The focus is the decolonization of knowledge, attitudes and practices.
Kader Attia was born in France in 1970 and grew up in Algeria and in the suburbs of Paris. Since hisfirst large one-man show in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1996, his works have beenpresented in numerous leading international exhibitions and biennials such as the 12th Shanghai
Biennale; the 12th Gwangju Biennale; the 12th Manifesta, Palermo; the 57th Biennale in Venice; the dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel; the Kochi Muziris Biennale 2014; His most important one-man shows 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; und KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin. Met Breuer, New York; Kunsthalle Vienna; MoMA, New York; Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; as well as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York—to name only a few.
In 2020 Kader Attia will be presented in a single exhibition at Kunsthaus Zürich, at MAHTAF, Doha / Qatar, at the Museum of Modern Art Moscow and at Sec Pompeia.
Awards: Marcel Duchamp Prize (2016), Miró Foundation Prize, Barcelona and the Yanghyun Art Prize, Seoul (2017).
Press release courtesy Galerie Krinzinger.