On Repair: Kader Attia
For many years, Kader Attia has explored the influence that societies have on their history, especially regarding experiences of deprivation, suppression, violence and loss, and how this affects the evolving of nations and individuals—each of them being connected to collective memory.
Socio-cultural research has led Kader Attia to the notion of repair, a concept he has been developing philosophically in his writings and symbolically in his oeuvre as a visual artist. With the principle of repair being a constant in nature—thus also in humanity—any system, social institution, or cultural tradition can be considered as an infinite process of repair, which is closely linked to loss and wounds, to recuperation and re-appropriation. Repair reaches far beyond the subject and connects the individual to gender, philosophy, science, and architecture, and also involves it in evolutionary processes in nature, culture, myth, and history.
This lecture is co-sponsored by the RISD Museum as part of the exhibit Repair and Design Futures, and by the RISD Graduate Commons lecture series "Conversations in Contemporary Art." The latter is a collaboration among RISD’s Divisions of Graduate Studies, Fine Arts and Liberal Arts, with the support of the RISD Provost’s Office.
Kader Attia, grew up in Paris and in Algeria. Preceding his studies at the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré and the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, and at Escola Massana, Centre d'Art i Disseny in Barcelona, he spent several years in Congo and in South America. The experience with these cultures, the histories of which over centuries have been characterised by rich trading traditions, colonialism and multi-ethnic societies, has fostered Attia’s intercultural and interdisciplinary approach of research.
In 2016, Kader Attia founded La Colonie, a space in Paris to share ideas and to provide an agora for vivid discussion. Focussing on decolonialisation not only of peoples but also of knowledge, attitudes and practices, it aspires to de-compartmentalise knowledge by a trans-cultural, trans-disciplinary and trans-generational approach. Driven by the urgency of social and cultural reparations, it aims to reunite which has been shattered, or drift apart. In 2016, Attia was awarded with the Marcel Duchamp Prize, followed in 2017 by the Prize of the Miró Foundation, Barcelona, and the Yanghyun Art Prize, Seoul.