Kader Attia: New Work is French-Algerian artist Kader Attia’s largest US exhibition to date. The exhibition, on display at the Henry Art Museum in Seattle, features site-specific installations that are at once apocalyptic and unassuming. Attia’s aluminum foil ghosts exude a ritualistic, ominous serenity but they also have a low-tech, ephemeral quality. The same goes for Attia’s Rochers Carres: the tilted sheetrock and plywood boxes create a city-like environment that seems doomed to fall but that also seems to accept its fate without putting up a fight.
Attia, born to an Algerian family, grew up outside Paris and studied at the Ecole Superieure des Arts Appliques and at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs. His work often probes issues related to community and cultural environments. At the 2005 Biennale de Lyon, Attia constructed children out of bird seed and placed them in a cage with live pigeons in order to explore the biennale’s theme: experiencing duration. Since then, Attia has shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Musee d’Art Contemporain of Lyon, as well as other international galleries and museums. Attia’s current exhibition at the Henry reflects a mature exploration of the ways in which structure and ritual affect contemporary life.