"Repair" as a physical and symbolic act
The Power Plant & the Goethe-Institut Toronto present Kader Attia's first solo exhibition in Canada.
Over the last few years, the notion of “repair” as both a physical and symbolic act has been at the core of Kader Attia’s practice. His rhizomatic research on the nature of reparation and reappropriation is frequently driven by exchanges with thinkers from fields as wide-ranging as medicine, music, psychoanalysis, natural science, political science and architecture who explore within their own fields the issues he addresses in his practice. Drawing associations between methods of repair across cultures and the forms of reappropriation and resistance throughout history, his works often feature found ethnographic objects that speak to these instances of dispossession and attempted repair.
Repair as a methodology offers the potential for colonized or oppressed peoples to reinstate their freedom. While living in the Congo, the artist came across a Kuba raffia cloth that had been patched up with Vichy fabric, which prompted further research into such items. Like the notion underlining Oswald de Andrade’s Manifesto Antropófago, that cultures must cannibalize other cultures in order to regain control over their oppressors, Attia views repair based on the incorporation of Western materials as a gesture of resistance. He has proposed that ‘integrating a Western element into an African object is an intentional act…It means the slave is beginning to devour the symbols of power.’ Through his works, Attia also reflects on the ways that healing can take place on an individual, collective and planetary scale.
For his first exhibition in Canada at The Power Plant, Attia will develop a new context-specific work around the notion of “repair” as it is manifested in a particularly Canadian/North American history.
(born 1970 in Dugny, France) lives and works in Berlin and Paris. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2016); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2013); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2012) and The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2007). His work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions around the world at venues including the Leopold Museum, Vienna (2016); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016); The Smithsonian Museum of African Art, Washington, DC and multiple biennials, including the Venice Biennale (2003, 2011 and 2017); Lyon Biennial (2005); dOCUMENTA, Kassel, Germany (2012); Marrakech Biennial (2014 and 2016) and Sharjah Biennial (2017).
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