French-Algerian artist Kader Attia explores colonial wounds, creative restoration

French-Algerian artist Kader Attia explores the idea of repair through creativity in a new exhibition of his recent work at the museum of modern art in Montpellier, in the south of France. His work is inspired by his memories of Algeria and his travels around the Global South.

"Descent into Paradise" is Attia's first exhibition in over five years in France. He describes it as "a journey through my life story, the starting point of a dialogue, and a reflection on our times, a challenging path".

The title is a deconstruction of Dante’s Divine Comedy, from purgatory to hell, underneath which is hidden the ambivalent beauty of paradise, he adds.

Curated by Numa Hambursin, the show draws inspiration from the spatial organisation of the MoCo museum of modern art in Montpellier.

Visitors go from the top floor down to the basement as a metaphor for a voyage from the sky to the earth and its depths.

It's a reflection on repair, reparations and transcendence that "questions the notion of verticality as a vital and spiritual movement", according to the curator.

Algerian inspirations

"Algeria is definitely very important in my work, especially the traces of my family," Attia told RFI on the opening day of the exhibition, which is being shown in conjunction with "Being Mediterranean", a show of contemporary art from around the Mediterranean.

"My grandmother and my father fought against colonialism. But I also really care about the idea that we can have several identities."

Read more on RFI English

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