« Les racines poussent aussi dans le béton »

Kader Attia Exhibition from 14 April to 16 September 2018.
Opening on Friday 13 April, 6:30pm.

To fill up the huge exhibition space that the MAC VAL will give him next spring, Kader Attia will propose an initiatic exhibition built around two closely related notions: architecture and its relationship to bodies. The event-exhibition “Les racines poussent aussi dans le béton” will provide keys to think about some issues grounded in the work the artist has been developing for many years as well as a shared History : how should we look back at the great urban projects of the after-war -these large complexes characteristic of what we call bedroom suburbs that embody well-digested and degraded versions of the modernist and utopist researches and theories of the first half of the 20th century, yet likely inspired by the earthen architectures of the Mzab in the Sahara? What remains of the utopia? Of the community life? What ambivalent relationships do we keep with our living space, whether public or private? With its history? Its roots?

Aiming at the disalienation and deconstruction of the way we look at colonization and modernity, of the appropriation of collective and individual history, the exhibition will investigate the relationships between the individual and social body through questioning the effects of architecture on our psyche, emotions to body, without eluding the paradoxical and fantasmatic dimension of these issues (the infamous “homecoming” for example). In the continuation of his research around phantom limbs, architecture here will be tackled for its capacity to be an extension of the mind and body, exploring the tension between private/public spaces (especially through the figures of the transsexual, the chibani and other repressed and objectified bodies to the detriment of their subjectivity). The exhibition will question controlled bodies, but also their endless capacity to evolve and take action.

A large number of artworks will be specifically produced for this new project rooted in an autobiographical approach. This labyrinthine exhibition will open on the wanders of Jean Gabin from Pépé le Moko (Julien Duvivier, 1937) to Any Number Can Win (Henri Verneuil, 1963). Visitors will be physically conditioned to stroll through an exhibition that will solicit all there senses and highlight the itinerary of a suburban child.

For this exhibition at the MAC VAL “Les racines poussent aussi dans le béton”, Kader Attia has elaborated a reflection under the form of an initiatory journey around architecture and its relationship to the body. An exhibition conceived as an “intimate conversation with the MAC VAL audience” in order to “probe-together- the evils and the joys that structure life in the suburbs”. Having grown up in Gargeslès-Gonesse, he underlines the familiarity of the landscapes (architecture, population, public transports etc.) and his feeling to “come back home” every time he visits the MAC VAL.


Born in 1970 in Dugny (93), Kader Attia currently lives and works between Paris and Berlin. Winner of the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2016, he has become a major figure of the international art scene since the beginning of the 2000s. For him, the art field is a space of reflection and action: psychoanalysis, anthropology, ethnology, philosophy etc., he explores various analytical forms to reveal the repressed side of history and its wounds, the traumas and inherent fears of our society through the medium of art. Exposing dominations and cultural isolationisms and praising a decolonization of sciences and history, he has been working around the concept of “repair” for a couple of years. With a practice directly geared toward action, he opened La Colonie, a space of “living-knowledge” and “knowledge sharing” in the 10th arrondissement of Paris, near Gare du Nord.