Kader Attia lives and works in Berlin and Algiers. He was born in 1970 in France but he grew up in both Algeria and Paris. Kader Attia uses his life experience as a starting point to reflect on the aesthetics and the ethics of different cultures.
Attia’s work evolves accordingly to what he describes as ‘the unexpected possibility of discovery’. So he doesn’t have a particular format or an aesthetic characteristic. He investigates the materiality of objects that he researches in museum archives. Often he is combining centuries-old found items with originally cast sculptures. He still travels, like most of the international artists. His first solo exhibition of photography took place in 1996 in Congo. Attia’s works take place in the space of their own cultural identity. The transition from photographs to sculptures and installations came via the medium of collage, where he cuts, edits, or ‘repairs’ old images into new formations.
Kader Attia partecipated at the first Architecture, Art and Landscape Biennale of Canarias with the installation Holy land in 2006. This work is an installation of mirrors on the beach, those mirrors recall Gothic windows but also the vaults of Islamic architecture. Thousands of African immigrants went to Fuerteventura’s beach on motorboats, the island become an entryway to Europe for this people that were dreaming a better life. Unfortunatly, those beaches were often their last destination and the places where they perished. Holy Land is like a graveyard. Kader Attia puts a hundreds of mirrors in the sand and they simulates the arrangement of tombstones in a cemetery. These mirrors have a lots of meanings and the artist invite us to reflect on that tragedy. The mirrors reproduce disappearance, “that remains without remaining, which is neither present nor absent …which is a remainder without remainder”.