“The biggest illusion of the Human Mind is probably the one on which Man has built himself: the idea that he invents something, when all he does is repair.” – Kader Attia
Galleria Continua in Beijing presents Kader Attia’s solo exhibition ironically entitled Beginning of the World. The show is conceived as a sensory and perceptive experience and opens with a small finite universe: a sphere of repaired mirrors that creates a world of infinite possibilities. Here, wounds are constantly trying to repair themselves, giving the idea of Repair as part of the Continuum of the Human Being. Just as the universe is a concept that automatically repairs itself and joins in every new form, so revolutions and chaos are a continuum of its internal order.
An aura of mystery and sadness is created, in the main space, by a large group of museum showcases destroyed and robbed. Anxiety for what has been lost, chaos between origin and end. The Beginning of the World is, metaphorically, the end of it, the beginning of all problems that actually could lead the world to its end.
The concept behind this show arises from a long period of in-depth research, during which Kader Attia widely investigated the different meanings linked to the binomial: repair and “re-appropriation”. This political idea of ‘beginning’ has a tight link with the “revolutionary dream”, which could be seen also as a de-evolution, in the way that people still believe that everything could be changed in order to create a better world to live in, although political order in the society is actually against this.
The exhibition reflects on the human activity of “repairing”, whereas everything we do leads us to a natural attitude that makes us struggle to survive. This behaviour is the dream of modernity, and riots have always been motivated by this utopian revolutionary idea to improve the world through change. Based on the idea of the never-ending desire of human civilizations to fight for survival, and on riots as instrument for social redemption, the exhibition presents a reverted climax in which proceeding upwards corresponds to a rarefaction of the works and their materiality. From chaos to immateriality, passing through a curious and absurd dialectics between opposites.
Kader Attia was born 1970 in Dugny (France), lives and works in Berlin (Germany) and Algiers (Algerie). Recent exhibitions include Contro Nature, Beirut Art Center, 2014, Beirut; The Continuum of Repair: The light of Jacobs Ladder’s, a one year project commissioned by the Whitechapel Gallery, 2013, London; Reparatur 5. Acts, solo show at Kunst Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, 2013, Berlin; Construire, Déconstruire, Reconstruire : Le Corps Utopique, solo show at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 2013,Paris; dOCUMENTA(13), 2012, Kassel; Performing Histories (1), Museum of Modern Art, 2012, New York; 10 ans du Projet pour l’Art Contemporain, Centre Pompidou, 2012, Paris; 4th Moscow Biennale, 2011, Moscow; The Global Contemporary. Art World after 1989, ZKM, 2011, Karlsruhe; Contested Terrains, Tate Modern, 2011, London.