Kader Attia’s first UK survey exhibition traces several strands of the artist’s work from the past two decades.
Defining himself as an activist as well as an artist, Attia has over the past twenty years set out to create artworks that engage our capacity for thinking as well as feeling, and provoke what he calls a ‘real, fundamental dialogue’ about the world in which we live.
In sculptures, installations, collages, videos and photographs that move ‘back and forth between politics and poetry’, Attia inventively explores the ways in which colonialism continues to shape how Western societies represent and engage with non-Western cultures, and offers a passionate critique of modern Western systems of control that define everything from traditional museology to the design of modernist social housing.
A key group of works in The Museum of Emotion engage with the idea of repair as both a physical and symbolic act. These include objects ‘repaired’ by the artist using techniques and materials employed in certain non-Western cultures, as well as videos and large-scale installations that explore the way in which repair relates to psychological as well as physical injury, and to collective as well as individual trauma.
In The Museum of Emotion, Attia transforms detailed research into compelling works of art, and at the same time probes the ways in which the museum itself might be transformed into a forum for emotional response, capable of eliciting, exploring and even harnessing strongly held feelings of anger, sorrow, joy and grief.