SWIT­ZER­LAND / LAU­SANNE

KA­DER AT­TIA

L'officiel Art - - Summer Guide -

SINCE DO­CU­MEN­TA 13 (“THE RE­PAIR FROM OC­CI­DENT TO EX­TRA-OC­CI­DEN­TAL CULTURES”), KA­DER AT­TIA’S WORK HAS BEEN AC­QUI­RED BY SE­VE­RAL MU­SEUMS AND FOUN­DA­TIONS, IN­CLU­DING MMK FRANK­FURT, WHERE HIS NEXT RE­TROS­PEC­TIVE WILL BE HELD IN 2016. IN THE MEANTIME, THE WORK OF THIS FRAN­CO-ALGERIAN AR­TIST (BORN IN FRANCE IN 1970, LIVES AND WORKS IN BER­LIN AND AL­GIERS) IS ON SHOW AT THE MU­SÉE CAN­TO­NAL DES BEAUX-ARTS DE LAU­SANNE. WE TOOK THE OP­POR­TU­NI­TY TO HEAR HIS THOUGHTS.

L'OF­FI­CIEL ART: His­to­ri­cal, so­cial, and po­li­ti­cal themes are at the heart of your work, no­ta­bly to do with the no­tion of debt/re­pair – as re­cent­ly seen at the Mid­del­heim Mu­seum in Ant­werp. What is your per­so­nal assessment in terms of self-awa­re­ness as your work has de­ve­lo­ped over the years, and in terms of the pos­sible evo­lu­tion of views on these themes? KA­DER AT­TIA: An assessment seems pre­ma­ture to me, in as far as this concept still holds some se­crets. Eve­ry day re­pair shows it­self to be a com­plex rhi­zo­ma­tic sys­tem that has no bounds, as it seems to struc­ture all areas of the uni­verse. At the be­gin­ning, I wor­ked on re­pair from a pu­re­ly ma­te­rial point of view, from Mo­der­ni­ty to Tra­di­tion and vice ver­sa: “The Re­pair from Oc­ci­den­tal to ex­tra-Oc­ci­den­tal Cultures”. Then I went on to be­come in­ter­es­ted in the am­bi­gui­ty and am­bi­va­lence of fun­da­men­tal dif­fe­rences bet­ween tra­di­tio­nal non-oc­ci­den­tal cultures and oc­ci­den­tal mo­der­ni­ty. The way in which a bro­ken ob­ject is re­pai­red in tra­di­tio­nal ex­tra-oc­ci­den­tal cultures fo­re­grounds the brea­kage. In this way, the re­pai­red ob­ject finds a new life. Re­pair in mo­dern Wes­tern cultures is meant to re­turn the ob­ject to its ori­gi­nal state—the state be­fore it was bro­ken. This pa­ra­doxi­cal prac­tice of re­pair clear­ly ex­plains the concerns of the mo­dern mind on the tra­di­tio­nal mind: the `sa­vage mind,' to use the term dear to Le­vi-Strauss. Now, if we trans­pose this idea of re­pair from the field of mo­der­ni­ty/tra­di­tion to that of Na­ture, we rea­lise that what Dar­win and Wal­lace dis­co­ve­red in their re­search on the evo­lu­tion of the spe­cies is ba­sed on the same prin­ciple: the ne­ces­si­ty in all li­ving spe­cies for a mem­ber `not adap­ted to his en­vi­ron­ment' to be re­pla­ced by ano­ther who knows bet­ter how to adapt in or­der to contri­bute to the evo­lu­tion of the spe­cies, and of course to his sur­vi­val. They call this pro­cess of ne­ces­sa­ry re­pla­ce­ment `na­tu­ral se­lec­tion'. What is na­tu­ral se­lec­tion if not re­pair? Any exis­ting sys­tem in the uni­verse is sub­ject to a struc­ture that self-re­gu­lates through re­pair.

This ex­hi­bi­tion will present a wide pa­no­ra­ma of your work. What form will it take? The na­ture of this space is such that it must be ca­re­ful­ly con­si­de­red be­fore ex­hi­bi­ting a group of works there. How can such a huge mu­seum, like a Me­tro­po­li­tan

or a Louvre, which brings to­ge­ther ar­chaeo­lo­gy, na­tu­ral his­to­ry, and art mu­seums, still mat­ter to­day, with the im­por­tance that art has to vi­si­tors' eyes, in a coun­try like Swit­zer­land, home to other large ci­ties and large mu­seums? First of all, be­cause of its po­li­ti­cal po­ten­tial, this mu­seum is the per­fect plat­form on which to put for­ward a po­li­ti­cal mes­sage poe­ti­cal­ly: aes­the­tic and ethi­cal. Its his­to­ri­cal cha­rac­ter, in terms of its ar­chi­tec­ture, its his­to­ry, and its col­lec­tions, makes it the per­fect tool for a dia­logue bet­ween po­li­ti­cal works that cri­tique and aim to open vie­wers' eyes to the world in which we live and whose roots were plan­ted by Eu­ro­pean co­lo­nia­lism: I will have the op­por­tu­ni­ty to do this with the work A Cul­ture of Fear: The In­ven­tion of Evil, which I will put in dia­logue with orien­tal pain­tings from the mu­seum's col­lec­tion. The evo­lu­tion of vio­lence ren­de­red vi­sual to­day hasn't come about by chance. ISIS prac­tices the conti­nued aes­the­tic of orien­ta­lism, it­self in­ven­ted by the Eu­ro­peans (led by the French…). This ex­hi­bi­tion will re­trace my work with pro­jects that I think it is ve­ry im­por­tant to reac­ti­vate and new works that have come out of these last fif­teen years of work. I felt a violent and ne­ces­sa­ry tur­ning point in my in­tel­lec­tual project when re­pair struck me as the prin­ci­pal as­pect of crea­tion in the broad sense: there will the­re­fore be the is­sue of dif­ferent ways and means in this ex­hi­bi­tion, from Na­ture to Cul­ture, via the pu­re­ly conten­tious is­sue of form and concept, which re­pair brings to light in a way that is so­me­times su­blime…

22 MAY - 30 AU­GUST, MU­SÉE CAN­TO­NAL DES BEAUX-ARTS, LAU­SANNE, Pa­lais de Ru­mine Place de la Ri­ponne 6, 1014 Lau­sanne, T +41(0)21 316 34 45.

Kader Attia, Ase­si­nos! Ase­si­nos!, 2014, ins­tal­la­tion: 134 doors and 47 me­ga­phones, va­riable di­men­sions.

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