040515: Galerie Krinzinger: Kader Attia – Complementary Conversations

Galerie Krinzinger Kader Attia – Complementary Conversations 18.04.2015 – 16.05.2015 Erosion of modernism By Roland Schöny Shockingly surprising how one can stumble over crushed bullet casings from impact moles from Syria here. Although rendered harmless, they harbour something of the real power of their former destructive potential. Naturally, these relics in the never-ending hostilities in the North Arabian countries confirm Kader Attia's readiness to send out a clear message. In spite of this, there is nothing speculative here, none of the messages appear too bold. The Algerian-French artist unrolls one of his central themes. In different media, it's an altercation with the double face of modernism, which left the renewal of blood-soaked traces on the other side of its ideology. Thus, Attia poses basic question about the presence of history. In his aesthetically insinuated collages, this becomes a fragmentary co-existence of architectural snippets, text quotations, pasted-in images of sculptures or – mostly – black passers-by who seem to be thinking or striding. Not just any old architecture interests him but North African buildings decorated with ornaments and the anonymous functionalism. But in his research, Attia also tracks totalitarian light creations, like LeCorbusier, who, in his delusion, displayed an incredible ignorance with a fascination for the Nazi regime and who collaborated with Henri Pétain's Vichy regime. Abstract scars in history Gradually it becomes evident why existing picture objects delineate fine elevations which look like scars, on raw, brownish grey canvas. It could be traces of wounds but also, perhaps, of healing. Along the tangent, one can read the research that Kader Attia developed in an encompassing project. His documenta13 installation, in which he exhibited damaged African objects which are clearly recognisable as having been repaired with old – imported from Europe – buttons or shards of glass, had engraved itself on the minds of many. Additionally, Attia showed contemporary African sculptures which were composed from looking at photographs of plastic surgery operations performed on injured soldiers in the First World War and are almost replicas of them. A bizarre archive of injuries. As here, Kader Attia again and again follows the idea of repairing. In it, he sees a moment of cultural distinction between many areas of the African everyday and that of renewal and superficial styling of moulded European centres. The photo work for this is in a light box »We Have Never Been Modern (the repair of the plate)« (2014). A highlight of this exhibition. It shows two women of North African origin, on a roof, restoring a clay serving plate in a back yard or a wind protected corner. The environment is obviously composed of numerous improvised elements that stand for the different types of production, for translocal economies, etc. Repairing as a cultural distinguishing characteristic Kader Attia continues his leitmotiv of repairing when he exhibits damaged parts of motorbikes, which had been reconditioned again. The traces of their wear and tear and thus, also, the individual past, remain visible. In no way does this lead into a phenomenology of the surfaces. Kader Attia, who, in the course of his philosophy studies worked on the structuralistic analyses of biopolitical power of Michel Foucault, and contested the considerations of a political aesthetic of Jaques Ranciere, asks metaphorically about the presence of history and the consequences of its loss. A video shows how pictures of war such as shots of settlement landscapes in Israel, bombed houses in the Near East and scenarios of a computerized war game supersede one another without a break. At a central place in the film, youths play football in the ruins of a Roman portal. This is the metaphoric culmination point of the loss of reference; in the justified ease of the game. Archaeology of the contradictions of the moderne What, admittedly, can happen when missing references about the reality of the past are superseded by racist and anti-civil societally charged ideologies is indicated by Kader Attia by the incidental placards: newspaper reports from Austria about jihad-enthused youths. A necessary admonishment that imposes itself, but not more - because the exhibition offers a glimpse into a widely conceived project which already begins in the 19. Century. His exhibitions in significant institutions over the last years demonstrate with what intensity Kader Attia creates his archaeology on the entanglement between African culture and western Modernism. However, it should be emphasized here just how skilfully he has included a meaningful and pointed concentration of his current work within the framework of a gallery. Already, artistic positions like these make museums of alleged modern art,, who insist on no more than Dan Flavin or yet on pop art, look as old as the hills. Galerie Krinzinger 1010 Vienna, Seilerstätte 16 Tel: +43 1 513 30 06 Fax: +43 1 513 30 06 33 E-mail: krinzinger@galerie-krinzinger.at http://www.galerie-krinzinger.at Opening times: Tue-Fri 12-18, Sat 11-14 hours

Galerie Krinzinger
1010 Wien, Seilerstätte 16
Tel: +43 1 513 30 06, Fax: +43 1 513 30 06 33
Email: krinzinger@galerie-krinzinger.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di-Fr 12-18, Sa 11-14 h

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