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b. 1970, France

Kader Attia Biography

French-Algerian artist Kader Attia spent much of his childhood straddling the Eastern and Western worlds of Algeria and France, and lived as a young adult in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela. With such a background, a key component of Attia’s work is the question of cultural conflict. An artist approaching his work with a multicultural lens, Attia is known for exploring the legacy of colonialism: the ongoing impact of Western culture and politics on the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the impact within Western countries themselves. Attia lived in the banlieues of Paris (suburbs populated by a high proportion of residents originating from former French African colonies) for some of his youth, and draws upon his first-hand experience to explore these themes and questions. He currently lives and works in Berlin and Algiers.

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Working across a range of media, materials, scales and symbols, Attia’s many individual series at first appear self-contained. However, throughout his practice he continually returns to the overarching themes of the impact of politics, culture and cultural displacement, maintaining a sustained critical look at the complexities of modern life. Using unconventional materials—including couscous and plastic bags—Attia explores how non-Western people construct and shape their identities in the face of, in the knowledge of, or in the shadow of Western cultural hegemony. A notable aspect of his practice—one that enables an exploration of this dichotomy—is his focus on architecture: exploring the disparities and similarities between East and West in order to highlight—and even to rectify—the social and political divides between the two cultures.

Educated at the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré, Paris; the Escola Massana, Centre d’Art i Disseny, Barcelona; and the École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, Attia has won numerous awards and exhibited internationally. Major international institutions showcasing his work in both solo and group exhibitions include Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Tate Modern, London; Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Saatchi Gallery, London; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Leopold Museum, Vienna; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon.  

He has also appeared in multiple biennials, including the 11th Cairo Biennale; Marrakech Biennales 5 and 6; dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel; the 50th and 57th Venice Biennales; the 2012 Liverpool Biennial; and the 8th and 13th Lyon Biennales. He was awarded the Cairo Biennale Prize in 2008, the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2010 and the notable Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2016. His work appears in numerous collections across the globe, including the Centre Pompidou. He is represented by Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin and Cologne; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna.

Georgia Messervy | Ocula | 2017

Kader Attia Featured Artworks

Untitled by Kader Attia contemporary artwork
Kader AttiaUntitled, 2019Mirror polished stainless steel
185.42 x 191.77 x 3.18 cm
Lehmann Maupin Contact Gallery

Kader Attia Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Kader Attia, Kader Attia 2009:2019 Films at Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna
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29 October–11 December 2019 Kader Attia Kader Attia 2009:2019 Films Galerie KrinzingerGalerie Krinzinger
Contemporary art exhibition, Kader Attia, Mirrors of Emotion at Lehmann Maupin, New York
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10 September–26 October 2019 Kader Attia Mirrors of Emotion Lehmann Maupin501 West 24th Street, New York

Kader Attia Represented By

Lehmann Maupin contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Lehmann Maupin New York, Hong Kong, Seoul

Kader Attia In Ocula Magazine

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Gallery Weekend Beijing: Exhibition Lowdown Ocula Report Gallery Weekend Beijing: Exhibition Lowdown By Tessa Moldan, Beijing

Between 22 and 31 May, Gallery Weekend Beijing returns for its fourth edition across 798 Art District. This lowdown provides a selection of exhibitions to catch as spring turns to summer in the capital.

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In a Rebuke to Power Lists, Collecteurs Announces Substance 100 Ocula News In a Rebuke to Power Lists, Collecteurs Announces Substance 100 New York, 10 April 2020

Digital Museum Collecteurs has announced its list of the top 100 artists and activists making global change.

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What, How & for Whom: Kunsthalle Wien's Collective of Artistic Directors Ocula Conversation What, How & for Whom: Kunsthalle Wien's Collective of Artistic Directors By Mirela Baciak, Vienna

Having launched their first exhibition ... of bread, wine, cars, security and peace on International Women's Day, the collective What, How & for Whom discuss the challenges of transforming an art institution.

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Hito Steyerl and Nan Goldin Join Art Professionals Supporting Bernie Sanders Ocula News Hito Steyerl and Nan Goldin Join Art Professionals Supporting Bernie Sanders Tokyo, 25 February 2020

With Trump threatening to defund the arts, Sanders promises 'I will be an arts president.'

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Kader Attia In Related Press

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When the Arts Resist Imperialism Related Press When the Arts Resist Imperialism 7 September 2019, Hyperallergic

A resplendent display of 272 fuchsia-colored paper lotus lanterns adorns the light-filled oculus on The Rubin Museum of Art's top floor. The sweeping circular installation, Lotus: Zone of Zero (2019) by Kimsooja, is among the more striking of the works by 10 international artists selected by guest curator Sara Raza for the exhibition Clapping...

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Making up for the past – the artists filling in the blanks in our collective memory Related Press Making up for the past – the artists filling in the blanks in our collective memory 20 July 2019, Apollo Magazine

In the first week of June, Britain and France played host to a vast spectacle on the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The commemoration events, tracing the timetable of the Normandy landings as they unfolded three quarters of a century earlier, marshalled a range of techniques, ancient and modern, to mark the occasion: church services, parades...

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Kader Attia’s Work Holds a Mirror to the World’s Injustice Related Press Kader Attia’s Work Holds a Mirror to the World’s Injustice 16 April 2019, Hyperallergic

LONDON — A cluster of snails are glued, like barnacles on a ship, to a disused metal post, which stands in a field of dry grass, a shabby apartment block looming in the background. In the photograph, Snails (2009) by French artist Kader Attia, the molluscs are not a culinary delicacy served on a platter with garlic butter, but a symbol of...

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How Kader Attia Demonstrates the Radical Healing Power of Art Related Press How Kader Attia Demonstrates the Radical Healing Power of Art 22 February 2019, Frieze

In 2009, when Kader Attia visited Picasso and the Masters at Paris's Grand Palais, he was surprised to find that the show included works by Caravaggio, El Greco and Cézanne, yet made no mention of the African art that inspired Les Demoiselles D'Avignon (1907). His response was to dig out a mask he'd found in a Dakar market and cover it with...

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