Kader Attia Opens Hybrid Restaurant and Art Space in Paris

It's called 'La Colonie.'

Kader Attia. Photo by Michael Danner. Courtesy kaderattia.de

Paris’s 10th arrondissement is now home to a new space for cross-disciplinary, anti-academic, artistic thought and discussion. Artist Kader Attia, along with partner Zico Selloum and their families, celebrate the opening of La Colonie, a space for art, music, critical thinking, debate, and cultural activism.

La Colonie has an open-ended, inclusive grounding philosophy, but hopes to focus on the stories of minorities.

Attia was born in Paris, and grew up between Parisian suburbs and Algeria. He currently lives and works in Berlin and Algiers, and his multicultural experience guides much of his work.

The space is funded privately in order to remain independent, and stick to the founding idea of freedom of critical expression outside the framework of established institutions.

“La Colonie is built around the desire to answer to the compelling urgency of social and cultural reparations,” reads a statement published to La Colonie’s Facebook page. “Beyond religious and political divisions, our contemporary societies have reached a hitherto unprecedented level of fragmentation that only the development of spaces for dialogue, meetings and confrontations, will push back,”

An ambiguous photo used as a profile picture on La Colonie's Facebook page.

An ambiguous photo used as a profile picture on La Colonie’s Facebook page.

The space opened on October 17,  to commemorate the 1961 demonstrations in Paris for Algeria’s independence, also dubbed “the Paris Massacre of 1961,” as hundreds of Algerians were killed by police that day.

A bread-breaking ceremony will take place later this week: a communal couscous dinner made by the artist’s mother, on Friday, October 21. The meal will follow a discussion between Attia and artist and theorist Michelangelo Pistoletto, which begins at 6:30 PM.

Further upcoming events include a symposium called “Critical and creative appropriation” on October 21-22 with essayist Gaëtane Lamarche-Vadel. From November 16-19, researchers and thinkers like Bruno Latour, Martha Rosler, Payam Sharifi, Kapwani Kiwinga, Armen Avanessian, Julieta Aranda, and Ravi Sundaram will gather for “Theory Now: places, forms, and practices of contemporary theories,” organized by theorist Lionel Ruffel.

La Colonie is located at 128 rue Lafayette, near the Gare du Nord train station. The ground floor is a bar and restaurant, while the second floor will host artists, activists, and researchers for readings, lectures, and workshops. A third floor is dedicated specifically to art projects. A digital database will be made available, and a free periodical newspaper is also in the works.

A nominee of the Prix Marcel Duchamp, Attia is currently showing work at the Centre Georges Pompidou with the other shortlisted artists Yto Barrada, Ulla von Brandenburg, and Barthélémy Toguo.

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