Artist talk: Kader Attia on the current exhibition J’Accuse

Artist talk: Kader Attia on the current exhibition J’Accuse

Berlinische Galerie

June 19, 2024
Artist talk: Kader Attia on the current exhibition J’Accuse
June 29, 2024, 6:30pm
Berlinische Galerie
Museum for Modern Art, Photography and Architecture
Alte Jakobstraße 124-128
10969 Berlin
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–6pm

T +49 30 78902600

Join the artist talk between Kader Attia and Thomas Koehler, Director of the Berlinische Galerie, discussing his current exhibition J’Accuse.

Kader Attia has spent many years exploring the principle of “repair,” which he views as a constant in both nature and the history of humanity. He understands every system, social practice, and cultural tradition as an infinite process of repair. For him, injuries and the act of repair should be considered as the starting point for a new form of existence—and their potential utilized for resistance. 

In his exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie, Attia presents a conversation between two large installations: J’Accuse (2016) and The Object’s Interlacing (2020), complemented by selected collages by Hannah Hoech from her iconic series From an Ethnographic Museum (1924–1934).

The installation J’Accuse consists of seventeen wooden busts, eight sculptures and an eleven-minute excerpt from an anti-war film of the same name by French director Abel Gance (1889–1981). The busts portray “gueules cassées” (broken faces), First World War soldiers who had suffered severe facial disfigurement. This term became symbolic of the war when new fragmentation grenades became the leading cause of injuries. These people and their faces have been a recurring theme in Attia’s work: they represent a large-scale attempt at “human repair,” while their scars remain as visible signs and reminders.

The Object’s Interlacing consists of a video work and twenty-two sculptures. In the video, Kader Attia builds a dialogue with various experts about the topic of restitution of cultural assets violently looted during the colonial era. Together they construct an understanding of restitution as a practice of repair with far broader implications than simply repatriating objects looted from their place of origin. 

Both works are complemented by seven collages by Hannah Hoech (1889–1978). In her work, Hoech combines magazine reproductions of non-European artworks with images of parts of the bodies or faces of predominantly white women from the 1920s. She thus creates an aesthetic of fragmentation and repair, which inspired Kader Attia to integrate her works into his solo exhibition.

Kader Attia grew up in France and Algeria. He gained international recognition for his contributions to the Venice Biennale in 2003 and 2017 as well as dOCUMENTA (13) in 2012, among others. In 2022, the artist curated the 12th Berlin Biennale.

Admission is free of charge and starts at 6pm.
You can visit the exhibition before the talk.

Please register here.

Further information here.

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Berlinische Galerie
June 19, 2024

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