1-13 June 2021


Work by Kader Attia at Stadhuisbrug, Utrecht

Kader Attia, Oil and Sugar #2, 2007, video, installation view BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2021, photo: Tom Janssen

From 1 to 13 June 2021 the video Oil and Sugar #2 (2007) by Kader Attia is on view in public space, as part of Fragments of Repair/Kader Attia!

The work is screened at Stadhuisbrug 5 (in the window of former Broese book shop, facing Utrecht City Hall), Mondays−Sundays from 08.00–24.00 hrs. With special thanks to Art Utrecht.

Artwork description:
Kader Attia, Oil and Sugar #2, 2007, video, 4:30 min.

In Oil and Sugar #2, a construction made from sugar cubes dissolves as crude oil is poured onto it. It looks like a building imploding in slow motion and then returning from collapse to its initial state, time and again, as the video loops. The work speaks to the place of oil and sugar in the colonial “architecture” of the global world, historically and at present. Recalling at once the plantation and sugar slavery and petroleum and extractive capital’s machinery, the video echoes this world of inequality, injustice, poverty, repression, and exclusion for many; this is what hides behind the facade of perfectly straight lines and the clean aesthetic of western-modern minimalism that the white block alludes to. Although turning dark and melting into chaos in the process, the construction manages to endlessly return unchanged. The seeming impossibility to disrupt this vicious circle of disintegration and continuous reemergence unveils the monstrosity of the challenge ahead for the hard labor of decolonization. Yet in every decline, uncertainty, and catastrophe there is emergence and thus a possibility to reroute the loop into repair, not as a return to what has been but as a gateway between one world and the next.

Audio, for those who scanned the QR code:

Suggestions from the archive


24 June 2021

Fragments of Repair/Gathering V: The Object’s Interlacing

Taking place on Thursday 24 June 2021, the fifth gathering of Fragments of Repair/Gatherings, consists of a screening of artist Kader Attia’s The Object’s Interlacing (2020), followed by a conversation between Souleymane Bachir Diagne (philosopher New York/Dakar) and Wayne Modest (material culture curator and researcher, Amsterdam/Rotterdam).

Education Program

21 June–07 July 2021

Course: Art as Politics

Due to popular demand, BAK Public Studies offers yet another rerun of the online course Art as Politics, taking place on the following dates: 21, 23, 28 and 30 June & 5 and 7 July 2021. This digital extension of BAK Public Studies, taught by Maria Hlavajova, is prompted by the urgency to continue collective thinking through, learning about, and imagining critical, politically-informed artistic practices that grasp—and intervene into—the present.


3 June 2021, 18.30-20.00

FEINART Lecture: From Art Institution to Community Portal, by Maria Hlavajova

FEINART (The Future of European Independent Art Spaces in a Period of Socially Engaged Art) is a PhD training network funded by the EU, in partnership with several universities and art spaces, amongst which BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht. As part of the FEINART Lecture Series, BAK’s general and artistic director Maria Hlavajova presents […]


21 May 2021, 15.00-17.00

The Postresearch Condition – EARN Conference Opening Program Redux

The annual EARN Conference was held at BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht from 26–30 January 2021. Due to the Covid-19 situation, the opening program, a conversation between Peter Osborne and Hito Steyerl, had to be postponed. This event now takes place as a hybrid activity on 21 May 2021 in collaboration with UCL, […]