Kader Attia (b. 1970, Dugny, France; lives and works in Berlin and Paris) grew up in Algeria and the suburbs of Paris. Drawing from his experience of living within two disparate cultures, he has developed a dynamic practice that examines the intricacies of social, historical, and cultural differences across the globe. Attia’s installations and sculptures offer a poetic yet highly explicit reading of the relationships between Western and non-Western cultures. Through complex investigations of architecture, the human body, literature, and history, Attia demonstrates how individual and cultural identity is constructed within the context of colonial domination and conflict. Using artifacts, discarded quotidian objects, and wartime ephemera, Attia transforms the space of the gallery into one of introspection, allowing the viewer to become aware of the complicated and often inaccurate depiction of our multiple histories. Attia believes that through this type of reappropriation, disparities between superior/inferior, traditional/modern, and exotic/familiar can begin to dissolve.
Attia has received degrees from Ecole Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré, Paris, France in 1993, La Escola Massana Arte i Disseny, Barcelona, Spain in 1994, and Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, France in 1998. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organized at the Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2019); Musée d'Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Vitry-sur-Seine, France (2018); Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d'Estudis d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona, Spain (2018); Power Plant, Toronto, Canada (2018); Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (2018); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2018); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (2017); Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (2017); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France (2017); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2016); Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (2015); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2013); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2013); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2012); Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2007); and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France (2006). Select group exhibitions featuring his work include Phantom Limb, Jameel Arts Center, Dubai, UAE (2019), When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration Through Contemporary Art, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston, MA (2019); The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacements, Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2019); 12th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China (2018); The Flow of Forms, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany (2017); Foreign Gods: Fascination Africa and Oceania, Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria (2016); But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (2016); Picasso in Contemporary Art, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, Germany (2015); The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell Revisited, The Smithsonian Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C., traveled to SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA, and Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2014-2015); Here and Elsewhere, New Museum, New York, NY (2014); Performing Histories, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2012); and Contested Terrains, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2011). Attia has participated in multiple biennial exhibitions, including the 12th Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, South Korea (2018); 12th Shanghai Biennale, China (2018); Marrakesh Biennial 4 and 6 (2014 and 2016); 8th and 13th Lyon Biennale (2005 and 2015); dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany (2012); and the 50th and 54th Venice Biennales (2003 and 2011). His work is in numerous international public and private collections, including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; The Colección Jumex, Mexico City; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Gallery, London.
Attia has received several prestigious awards including the 2017 Joan Miró Prize, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, Spain, the 2017 Yanghyun Prize, Seoul, South Korea, and the 2016 Prix Marcel Duchamp, Paris, France.