press release

French-Algerian artist Kader Attia (born 1970) works across diverse media including collage, photography, video, sculpture and installation. Exploring ideas around cultural exchange, appropriation, and the tangled relationship between North Africa and the West in the wake of decolonisation, Attia articulates theories of ‘repair’ and ‘reparation’ through his practice.

This major new survey exhibition encompasses over a decade of the artist’s practice. History and culture, architecture and the body represent constant threads throughout Attia’s art. Absence and the void are further themes within Attia’s practice. Ghost 2007 comprises an installation of empty aluminium-foil casts of seated Muslim women in prayer. In Asesinos! Asesinos! 2014 over 100 doors are reconfigured in a vast, upright formation, recalling bodies that surge forward as a crowd in protest – a sensation enhanced by the work’s title (‘Murderers! Murderers!’) and the megaphones that they carry.

Attia’s installation The Construction of Fear: A Culture of Evil 2013- extends the theme of injury and response through interlocking steel shelves that suggest an archive or library. Late 19th and 20th century books and newspapers extend the colonial gaze into the present through their depiction of European encounters with a non-Western, uncivilized ‘other’.

Presented in association with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, and curated by Rachel Kent, Chief Curator, MCA, Kader Attia is the first solo presentation of the artist’s work in the Southern hemisphere.