Kader Attia


Repairing the Invisible
Thursday 30 March 2017 | 12 H
Introduction by Martin Germann, senior curator at S.M.A.K.
Guided tour of Kader Attia exhibition with Tanja Boon, curator.
Opening : Thursday, 30. March 2017
Exhibition: 31.03 – 01.10.2017
Jan Hoetplein 1, 9000 Gent Belgium
Kader Attia, Reflecting Memory 2016, Courtesy the artist,
Galerie Nagel Draxler, Lehmann Maupin, Galerie Krinzinger and Galleria Continua
© the artist, photograph: Kader Attia

Kader Attia’s work is internationally recognized for the urgent manner in which he explores notions of trauma and repair in our globalised society through an artistic practice that involves assemblage, reparation and appropriation.

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the textile course at the KASK/Hogent in Ghent, the French-Algerian artist is presenting a new installation of eight found objects in textile. Of various African origins, the fabrics each display a number of manual repairs that have been left visible. It is a serene but complex image, like a still life, a visual rendering of life and its transience. Attia shows that an endless process of repairs and exchanges is inherent to this reality.

Similar stitching recurs throughout the exhibition. Using textile or metal, the artist applies them among other things to broken mirrors and torn cloths. More hybrid forms that he collects as artefacts link together residual objects and materials including a military helmet and a guitar. The past and the unfamiliar together make up the conditions for a future existence. In their autopoiesis, their process of self-creation and maintenance, Attia also recognises the way societies develop and rebuild themselves.

This multiple perspective continues in the video Réfléchir La Mémoire, for which the artist won the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2016 and which is having its Belgian premiere in this exhibition. The film essay looks for connections between the psychological and psycho-social implications of recovery processes. By means of accounts given by, among others, a psychoanalyst, a neurologist, a surgeon, a philosopher, a historian, a dancer and a musician, the phenomenon of phantom pain is viewed as a symptom of the denial and invisibility of such traumas as genocide, slavery and colonisation that are experienced collectively.

Kader Attia’s practice gives a poetic dimension to a broader discourse on the repercussions of the Western hegemony over non-Western cultures in historical narratives, the politics of identity and humanitarian crises in the present (refugee crisis) and the past (colonisation). The artist recently opened the space La Colonie in Paris, where, through a programme of talks, debates and concerts, synergy is sought between art, theory and activism.



Kader Attia, Scarification, Self Skin’s Architecture, 2015 Collection Friends of S.M.A.K., Museum of Contemporary Art Ghent

Kader Attia (1970, Seine-Saint-Denis) lives and works in Berlin and Paris. He has recently had solo exhibitions at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2016); Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts, Lausanne, Switzerland (2015); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2013); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2012); The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (2007) and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France (2006). He took part in Documenta 13, Kassel, Germany (2012), the Moscow Biennale (2011), the Biennale of Sydney (2010) and the Venice Biennale (2003). In 2016 he won the Prix Marcel Duchamp. Kader Attia was also selected for the international “Viva Arte Viva” exhibition at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017).


Design museum Gent
Textile Between Art & Design
Thursday 30 March 2017 | 11am
Design Museum Ghent; coffee
Introduction by Katrien Laporte, director of Design Museum Gent.
Guided tour with Els Huygelen, lecturer in Textile Design
at KASK and curator of Plain / Purl.
12:00 – leave for S.M.A.K.
Opening : Thursday, 30. March 2017
Exhibition: 31.03 – 01.10.2017
Jan Breydelstraat 5, 9000 Gent


‘Plain / Purl’ marks ten years of Textile Design at KASK / School of Arts. The open vision, inherent to the course, is the common thread and confronts work by international artists with work by alumni in an immersive experience exhibition. From 31 March till the end of September, you do not only wander between, in, and through the works, but you can also feel them and sit on them.

Discover the inspirational works of art, designs, and drawings by national and international names such as Polly Apfelbaum, Petra Blaisse, Louise Bourgeois, Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Chevalier-Masson, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Sonia Delaunay, Martine Geyselbrecht, Hella Jongerius, Christoph Hefti, Muller Van Severen, Bertjan Pot, Rosemarie Trockel, Rinus Van De Velde, Franz West and former textile design students.

Valerie Mannaerts, Kristof Van Gestel, Joel Gomez and Henri Jacobs are also creating new work for the exhibition. Expect works that transcend the boundaries between art and design, where the design, the production process and the final result coincide.

KADER ATTIA — 31.03.2017 until 01.10.2017 

S.M.A.K. invited Kader Attia to reflect on contemporary applications of textiles in the visual arts as part of the exhibition ‘Plain / Purl’. Attia works as an artist, historian, anthropologist, philosopher and ethnographer on his project about the philosophical notion of recovery.



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