Description: Arabesque, 2006
Wall installation comprised of 248 police truncheons. Installation dimensions variable; as illustrated: 480 cm. x 1000 cm. (189 x 394 in). This work is from an edition of two and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.
Artist or Maker: KADER ATTIA
Exhibited: Paris, Palais de Tokyo, Notre Histoire..., 21 January - 25 May, 2006
Literature: Exhibition catalogue, Palais de Tokyo, Notre Histoire..., Paris, 2006, n.p. (illustrated); Exhibition catalogue, Musee d'Art Contemporain, Kader Attia, Lyon, 2006, p. 23, 33, 100 (illustrated)
Provenance: Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris
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Kader Attia's art is rooted in the complex relations between East and West,and it reflects the charged encounter between these markedly different worlds an uprooted North-African culture and a seductive Western consumer culture. Deeply embedded within this duality, his work reflects upon the socio-political powder cake (sic) that is threatening French society from within, and upon the millions of Muslims who have lost all hope of integrating into it. (Tami, Katz-Freiman, Kader Attia, Musee D'Art Contemporain, Lyon. ed jrp Ringier, p. 19)
The present lot, Arabesque, is composed of a wall installation which was initially created by the artist for an exhibition at the Palais the Tokyo entitled Notre Histoire.The installation was created following the waves of violence and series of riots taking place in Paris, evoking images of citizens being stampeded by oppressive powers.This work embodies universal themes of chaos and power relations. Kader Attia transforms these notions of the disorderly into a controlled frieze, an idea which initself questions the artists' role in commenting on society and politics.The wall installation appears at first glance to be an abstract modernist composition reminiscent of a Mondrian painting, however upon closer inspection the work reveals itself as hundreds of police truncheons that had been sunken in the concrete wall of the gallery. ‘Handcuffs and truncheons denote authority, power, and repression, but also protection.These objects are perversely beautiful and highly ambiguous. I'm interested in signs that express a rule.' (Jean-Louis Paradel, Interview with Kader Attia,Kader Attia, Musee D'Art Contemporain, Lyon. Ed jrp Ringier p. 48)
It is typical in the work of Kader Attia for the line between the playful andthe political to be tested. Attia has made a reputation for himself over thepast ten years through his engagement of social criticism by means ofsculpture, photography, drawing and installation. His work is created ina reflective manner suffused with personal pain and the sense of being anoutsider, the work vacillates between personal and universal experience.