A French artist of Algerian descent, Kader Attia came to prominence in the early 2000s with his unique multidisciplinary practice imbued with theoretical references. Through his vast installations, saturated with archival materials as physical manifestations of systems and ideologies, tend to articulate the colonial legacies that frame contemporary perceptions of history, matters of ownership, cultural identity, and immigration.
To take a closer look at the practice of Attia (who has recently been appointed curator of the 12th Berlin Biennale), the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf) will present the exhibition titled On Silence, surveying the full range of the artist's work across all media produced in the last two decades.
The exhibition curated by Abdellah Karroum, Director of Mathaf, will show how Kader Attia addresses the concepts such as convention and transgression, colonialism and liberation, but also the notions of heritage and aspiration.
Karroum underlined the exhibition context:
2021 is a hugely significant year for multiple reasons. The covid-19 pandemic, raging silently across the world, is just the latest and most traumatic global crisis. Developed in 2020 and presented in our anniversary year, the exhibition deals with issues that concern the whole world, but it also looks in depth at the cultural, social, and historical issues of the region, with a deep awareness of the multiple crises we face. This show, drawn from the artist’s personal experience and the multiple crises in today’s world, presents major themes of postcolonial trauma and the processes that followed for decades as a psychiatric ‘repair’ at social and individual level. The artist’s intention is to provoke the viewer’s emotional and physical experience.
The two new commissions made especially for this exhibition are a result of a conversation between Kader Attia and the curator, and are a response to the context of Doha, a multi-cultural city marked by constant migration which is continuously adapting to both regional and global social and political changes.
The first, The Object’s Interlacing (2020), consists of a film and a series of reproductions of African sculptures and explores the burning debate on the restitution of objects taken from Africa during colonial times. On Silence (2021) features a great number of body prostheses used by people who lost one of their limbs in conflict zones.
The upcoming show is part of the program celebrating the 10th anniversary of the leading institution in charge of the study and display of 20th and 21st-century Arab art founded by Qatar Museums in partnership with Qatar Foundation.
Kader Attia: On Silence will be on display at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha from 15 April until 19 December 2021.
Featured image: Kader Attia - Chaos + Repair = Universe, 2014. Mirror fragments, metal wires, approx. 60 cm (diameter). Installation view Sacrifice and Harmony, MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Main, 2016. Private Collection, Switzerland. Courtesy of Simon Studer Art and Galleria Continua. Photo: Axel Schneider. All images courtesy Mathaf.