press release

Four works, two created exclusively for the Huarte Centre, make up the exhibition by Kader Attia, of Algerian origin, like an opera in four acts about the keys to "our future, present and past world".

Black & White, created exclusively for the Huarte Centre, takes the hung forms that remind us of a multitude of people in prayer, which characterizes Kader Attia's previous works. However, if in previous installations Attia used and modelled aluminium paper to transform it into the bodies of praying women, in Black & White the material becomes more precise: they are petroleum drums.

This way, Kader Attia's new work pushes the observer towards the crux of the most inextricable current problems: in which energy resources, region and geo-political issues are intermingled.

Casbah, also created especially for the Huarte Centre, presents a vision of the roofs and patios of shantytowns, favelas and bidonvilles, like those that can be found anywhere, including our large western cities. Built with steel and plastic, it uses the elements common to all these unstable constructions: tyres, undulating materials that cross at right angles, old plywood, enormous satellite dishes... The observers are invited to walk around and project themselves into these spaces that are also places full of life and sociability. Love, spying, suffering sharing, births and deaths all take place in the patios under the watchful eye of the rest of the community.

The Oil & Sugar video offers a completely different physical treatment to the same question, without the modesty of the mediums to play down the dramatic strength of the result or the events put into play.

Finally, the empty plastic bags displayed on a table miraculously seem to keep the footprint of the products they once contained. This greatly fragile piece was inspired by the everyday sight of discarded bags by those who received emergency aid in the form of essential food products close to the artist's workshop. The artists talks to us about the weight of things, but also its evanescence. It also brings to mind Lao Tseu's saying which Kader Attia likes to quote: "Man creates things but it is the void that gives them meaning". Void/ fulfilment; memory/ obscurity, global/ private, are terms that are more complimentary than antonyms, from which Kader Attia's work feeds from.

Kader Attia, born in Dugny (Seine-Saint-Denis) in 1970, is a French artist of Algerian origins who demands the plurality of his cultural identities, the culture of his childhood in the suburbs, academic and popular culture. He was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp Award in 2005. Attia, who lived in the Congo-Kinshasa for two and a half years, in addition to spending time in Venezuela and Algeria, gathers a multicultural vision in his work in which nothing is innocent: neither the void, nor the materials he uses.

only in german

Kader Attia
Black & White, Casbah, Oil & Sugar and sculptures
Kurator: Regis Durand