press release

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, with the support of the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni, presents Square Dreams by Kader Attia. The exhibition housed in the ground floor gallery space, is on view from Friday 21 September 2007 to Sunday 13 January 2008.

Born in Paris in 1970 into Algerian family, Attia’s work is heavily influenced by his cultural heritage. It is rooted in the complex relations between the East and West and deals with many different subjects from the place of women in religion; the taboo relations between power, religion and art; to the phobias, frustrations and fantasies of the human being. Attia is unafraid of tackling questions of globalisation and religion and his work presents a sometimes darkly humorous and even cynical view of modern life. It exists at the meeting point between Western consumerism and an uprooted North African culture and addresses issues of community, diversity, belonging and exile.

Square Dreams, focuses on the effect of state and religion on both cultures. The exhibition consists of 140 discarded domestic fridges painted black and covered in hundreds of tiny geometric mirror ‘windows’. This landscape of customised household appliances represents cities, housing estates or even prisons and comments on the utopian spirit of modernism; Parallels of which can be drawn to the physical control of the crowded urban suburbs of Attia’s Parisian childhood and with the Christian mythology of the Tower of Babel.

Through his work Attia suggests that we are affected by both the physical and unconscious elements that surround us with which we have to live. Shape and meaning are always linked in his work, in a complex reflection that is rooted in art histories and the symbolic dimension of everyday objects. By journeying through the labyrinth of the installation we enter into a dialogue with the artist. Attia produces work that is very simple in form but leads us into a fundamental dialogue – Square Dreams literally holds up a mirror up to challenge everyone who looks.

Kader Attia Biography

Kader Attia was born in 1970 into an Algerian family in a suburb of Paris. His first solo exhibition was in 1996 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since this exhibition, Attia has exhibited regularly in France, particularly in institutions like the Palais de Tokyo and the Lyon Contemporary Art Museum. Attia has gained international recognition by participating the Venice Biennale (2003), Art Basel Miami (2004) and the Lyon Biennale (2005). It was at the Lyon Biennale that Attia created one of his most famous ‘Flying Rats’. Attia’s previous work includes La Piste d'atterrissage, or The Landing Strip. The Landing Strip was the culmination of Attia’s work with Algerian transsexuals as they worked to try and find a place within wider French society.

Attia’s most recent solo exhibitions have been at Musée d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, le Magasin, Grenoble, France, Andréhn- Schiptjenko, Stockholm, Sweden, Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel, Christian Nagel, Berlin, Germany. In November, he will have his first solo exhibition in the US at the Boston ICA, Boston, USA.

Kader Attia was nominated for the Price Marcel Duchamp in 2005.

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Kader Attia