Kader Attia

Kader Attia

"Reason’s Oxymorons"
Lehmann Maupin
New York, 201 Chrystie Street

The winner of last year’s prestigious Marcel Duchamp Prize, Kader Attia was recently a part of the Guggenheim’s group exhibition But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise which included his stunning replica of the Algerian city of Ghardaïa using couscous. In his multimedia work, Attia, currently based in Berlin and Algeria, mines personal and collective archives to unearth and contextualize suppressed narratives, while using the acts of repairing or fixing as metaphors. Eurocentric world view, colonialism, and patriarchal systems are filtered through his strongly research-based process. Using documentary, found image and footage, discarded materials, and industrial objects, Attia reinterprets dictated narratives on human progression.

Kader Attia, Reason's Oxymorons, 2015, 18 films and installation of cubicles duration: variable, 13 to 25 minutes.  Installation view, la Biennale de Lyon, 2015.  © Blaise ADILON; ADAGP, Paris 2015. Courtesy the artist, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin, and la Biennale de Lyon.

Kader Attia, Reason's Oxymorons, 2015, 18 films and installation of cubicles duration: variable, 13 to 25 minutes. 
Installation view, la Biennale de Lyon, 2015.  © Blaise ADILON; ADAGP, Paris 2015. Courtesy the artist, Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong, Galerie Nagel Draxler, Berlin, and la Biennale de Lyon.

Reason’s Oxymorons, a video library featuring eighteen interviews streamed within a modular cubicle setting, debuted at the 13th Biennale de Lyon in 2015. Under various topics such as “Reason and Politics”, “Genocide”, “Trance”, and “Totem and Fetish”, individuals among which are philosophers, musicologists, ethnologists, healers or fetishists speak directly to the camera as they build a massive essay on psychiatric pathology en masse. Approaching the subject from two perspectives, which are Western and non-Western, speakers comment on mental stability, psychological wellbeing, and methods of dealing with trauma. The office-like generic setting of the installation challenges the severeness of topics discussed by a group of individuals from an expansive array of backgrounds. 

“A recurring aim of Attia’s work is to make viewers step outside of their pre-existing worldview, the ‘I’ that is ‘the product of thousands of connections which do not belong to you,’ and to look back on this perspective from a distance,” notes Hannah Gregory on Apollo about Attia’s 2015 retrospective the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne. 

On view through March 4, 2017 

 

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Portia Munson