DAK’ART 2014

11ème Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain 09/05>08/06

Kader Attia


  • Courtesy Per Kristiansen

Indépendance Tchao : Installation, sculpture, mixed media, variable dimension, 2014, courtesy of the artist.

Walking through the streets of downtown Dakar, Kader Attia likes to look - as one would admire sculpture in a Museum - at the staging of some colonial, some “independence-esque”, but above all, hegemonic dreams of architectural modernity, with concrete as absolute dogma.
There is a building downtown that is attracting both for its half-honeycomb, half-canopy structure and for its illustrious name: Hôtel de l’Indépendance (The Independence Hotel).
Neglected, forgotten, then abandoned, the Hôtel de l’Indépendance embodies the most accurate testimony of the disastrous consequences of the independence dream. It stands here, as the most beautiful monument, or rather memorial, of the failure of societal projects that most revolutionaries—now in power in Africa and elsewhere—didn’t want to or couldn’t initiate.
Reversing the position of a metal locker reclaimed years ago in an old disused building in Algiers, Kader Attia take over this characteristic shape of Hôtel de l’Indépendance. A replica of this architecture, his artwork evokes, with both cynicism and poetry at the same time, the beauty of the simplicity of the great modern architectural colonial project, its political dimension, and its despotic nature.

Born in 1970 into an Algerian family near Paris, Kader Attia spent his childhood between a Parisian banlieue and the neighbourhood of Bab el Oued in Algiers. He studied both Philosophy and Fine Art in Paris and spent a year at Barcelona’s School of Applied Art “La Massana” in 1993. His childhood between France and Algeria, going back and forth between the Christian Occident and the Islamic Maghreb, has had a profound impact on his work, and his time spent living in the Congo-Kinshasa, as well as Venezuela, has further informed his vision. His work tackles the relations between the Western Thought and extra-Occidental cultures, particularly through Architecture, the Human body, History, Nature, Culture, and Religions. Attia’s first solo exhibition was held in 1996 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He gained international recognition at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). Recent exhibitions include Continuum of Repair : The Light of Jacob’s Ladder, a solo show at Whitechapel Gallery, London / UK, Reparatur 5. Acts, a solo show at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin / Germany, Construire, Déconstruire, Reconstruire : Le Corps Utopique, a solo show at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris / France, dOCUMENTA(13) in Kassel / Germany, Performing Histories (1) at MoMA, New York / USA, 10 ans du Projet pour l’Art Contemporain, Centre Pompidou, Paris / France, 4th Moscow Biennale, Moscow / Russia, The Global Contemporary. Art World after 1989, ZKM, Karlsruhe / Germany, Contested Terrains, Tate Modern, London / UK. Kader Attia lives and works in Berlin and Algiers

View online : www.saatchigallery.com/artists/kade...