17 April, 13.00–26 September, 19.00 2021


Fragments of Repair/Kader Attia

An exhibition realized in the framework of the multi-part project Fragments of Repair

  • Kader Attia, Les Entrelacs de l’Objet / The Object’s Interlacing, 2020, installation with video and objects, installation view, 2021, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Kader Attia, Les Entrelacs de l’Objet / The Object’s Interlacing, 2020, installation with video and objects, installation view, 2021, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Kader Attia, Reason’s Oxymorons, 2015, video installation, installation view BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2021, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Kader Attia, Reason’s Oxymorons, 2015, video installation, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2021, photo: Tom Janssen

  • Installation view Fragments of Repair/Kader Attia, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2021, photo: Tom Janssen

Fragments of Repair/Kader Attia, one part of the multi-part project Fragments of Repair, is the first comprehensive exhibition of Attia’s work in the Netherlands, on view at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. It features a constellation of the artist’s video, collage, and sculptural works that grapple with Attia’s continued inquiry into repair as decolonial strategy.

Injury, wound, and repair have been key concepts across Attia’s artistic practice, particularly in relation to the material and immaterial injustices of colonial violence that persist into the present. The works in the exhibition revolve around different themes that deal with this “legacy” of colonial violence, from architecture as a form of social and psychological control, to mental health care from a decolonial perspective, and the notion of restitution as a practice of social justice. The latter is most pointedly addressed in Attia’s multi-media installation The Object’s Interlacing (2020), which includes a video showing a variety of practitioners discussing the “restitution” of African cultural artefacts that were violently displaced into western ownership during colonial times. The video is beamed through a field populated with replicas of artefacts of non-western provenance, who cast their silhouettes onto the screen, performatively (re)claiming their own voice in the conversation.

Mental health care from a decolonial perspective is touched upon in Attia’s 18-channel installation Reason’s Oxymorons (2015), which inquires into ways of dealing with trauma and injury, bringing together various cultural practices and perspectives regarding subjectivity, the psyche, and imagination from around the world. Each of the 18 videos is installed in a separate standardized, grey office cubicle, but despite the cubicle’s (post)panoptic architecture of control and surveillance, it is simultaneously an undoing of the panopticon,

Architecture as a form of social and psychological control surfaces in several of the exhibited works, including La Tour Robespierre (2018), a drone-recorded portrait of a massive modernist housing tower in a Paris suburb, and the two combined works Following the Modern Genealogy (2012–2021) & Untitled (2021), featuring photographs and books from Attia’s archive. The latter two works together draw a genealogy of architectural modernity, showing how the utopian ideals of western modernist architecture were inspired by the vernacular building practices of France’s former colonies.

New Work by Kader Attia
Throughout the duration of Fragments of Repair, Kader Attia engages in creating a new work in the form of a gradually unfolding podcast and sound installation in twelve parts, titled Repair & Listen, commissioned and produced by BAK and realized in collaboration with Utrecht University and a number of partners in the field of higher education and medical research. Episodes are based upon one-on-one conversations between the artist and Utrecht or internationally-based academics, students, or activists from fields such as philosophy, history of science, economics, psychoanalysis, psychiatry, and social epidemiology. Drawing on transcultural epistemologies and lived experiences, the work investigates “repair” as a concrete practice to counter the psychological impact of living through a pandemic. The recorded conversations form part of an archive that is accessible both online and as part of a roaming listening-space installation to be exhibited in various academic and health care institutions across the Netherlands.

Planning your visit
Pre-booking a timeslot and ticket is no longer required from 26 June 2021, you can buy a ticket at the door. Please do check out BAK’s Covid-19 guidelines prior to your visit.

Please note: on the following upcoming dates there are special events:
Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 August 2021: Free entry to the exhibition for We Are Public-members.
Saturday 4 & Sunday 5 September 2021, 14.45–16.30 hrs: Introduction to the exhibition for Museumcard holders. You can reserve a spot here (only for those with valid Museumcard, introductions are in Dutch). Please note that if we are fully booked for this event, it will not be possible to visit the exhibition during these hours.
– Sunday 12 September 2021: Uitfeest. It might be necessary to make a separate reservation to visit BAK this day.

BAK’s activities are made possible through financial contributions by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Municipality of Utrecht. Fragments of Repair is organized in the framework of BAK’s research itinerary Propositions for Non-Fascist Living (2017–ongoing), and has received aditional funding from: VSBfonds, Utrecht; BankGiro Loterij Fonds, Amsterdam; BNG Cultuurfonds, The Hague; Fonds 21, Utrecht; Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Utrecht; Institut français des Pays-Bas, The Hague; and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), Stuttgart.

BAK’s main partner in the field of education and research is HKU University of the Arts Utrecht.

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