Kader Attia


“I was fascinated by how in traditional societies, not only Africa, but also Japan and the west before modernity, when a broken object was repaired, the repair process always kept the trace of the injury,” he explains when we meet in a cluttered, book-filled corner of his studio in Berlin, the city he has lived in since 2010. But while traditional societies repair objects to give them a new life, often incorporating elements of European culture in the process — he shows me a Berber necklace dotted with French francs — the western approach is to discard objects that are damaged, valuing only originals in pristine condition. For Attia, repair has become a metaphor for cultural reappropriation, and resistance.

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