Artist Kader Attia, Known for His Poignant Investigations That Break Down Western Hegemony, Will Curate the Next Berlin Biennial

The biennial is set to take place in 2022.

Kader Attia, Curator 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art Photo: F. Anthea Schaap.

The French-Algerian artist Kader Attia has been named curator of the upcoming Berlin Biennial, which is set to take place in 2022.

The artist’s poetic practice focuses on the concept of “repair” as a form of cultural resistance. He has also long-been dedicated to investigating the subject of colonialism as one of the hearts of his artistic practice.

In a recent video work created for the Kunsthaus Zürich, The Object’s Interlacing, Attia addressed the deeply divisive subject of the restitution of non-Western artifacts from Western museums. Elsewhere, he has ruminated on the power of emotions as a weapon against fascism.

Attia was chosen by an international selection committee that included, artist Yael Bartana KW director Krist Gruijthuijsen, and 2017 Berlin biennial curator Gabi Ngcobo, among others.

The artist did not respond for a request for comment about the appointment. Speaking to Artnet News last April, Attia said he was concerned about how the economic crisis will exacerbate inequalities and injustices that existed before the pandemic. “We need to invent new ways to deal with our environment, but also to anticipate the social and economical disaster that has already started,” he said. “I am thinking about the acceleration of forms of racism that already existed before the pandemic, like the rise of fascism all over Europe and North and South America.”

The last artist to curate the notable exhibition was Polish artist Artur Żmijewski, who was at the helm in 2012. Maurizio Cattelan was a co-curator in 2006.

The Berlin biennial will meet a crammed year of major art events. If all goes to plan, both documenta and the Venice Biennale are set to open that spring and summer.

In July last year, the Berlin-based artist was forced to shutter his agora space in Paris, La Colonie. The independent cultural venue near Paris’s Gare du Nord train station hosted urgent conversations on colonialism and racism. Unfortunately, as most of its revenue was generated by its bar and cafe, it was forced to close due to the first lockdown.

The 11th Berlin biennial, called “the crack begins within,” was curated by María Berríos, Renata Cervetto, Lisette Lagnado, and Agustín Pérez Rubio. It was postponed from its usual June opening due to the pandemic, and instead opened in September last year at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Martin Gropius Bau, and other smaller locations.

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