In this interview Régis Durand asks the French Algerian artist Kader Attia about his 2008 exhibition at the Centro Huarte de Arte Contemporáneo (Navarra) and his ideas for the four different pieces exhibited. Durand is particularly interested in the genesis of these different works: How did Attia get the ideas, and what need do they meet for him? Also, how does Attia approach a new project, consider its specific features and its relation to earlier pieces? Attia describes the pieces in the exhibition and ties each into the ideas he tries to grapple with in his art. He conceives of the exhibition as an opera in four acts about our world now, in the past, and in the future. Kasbah is an installation of a shantytown made with sheet iron and plastic, showing the town from above: the roofs spread over a considerable area, but always on the ground, so that visitors can walk over them. Another installation (based on the earlier Rocher carrés) is a series of blocks four meters high and two meters wide, made of Sheetrock panels covered with recycled gray paper, sloping at an angle of forty-five or sixty degrees. Attia intends for them to suggest urban architecture in the process of collapsing. A piece made with oil drums is titled Black and White. There is also a video (Oil and Sugar), which shows a structure of sugar cubes disintegrating in a pool of black oil, as well as a series of sculptures made with empty plastic bags. Another work discussed at length in the interview is Ghost. Durand asks Attia to comment on the role of architecture in his recent works. Attia argues that architecture provides answers, whereas philosophy asks questions. In fact, it’s the notion of architecture’s “answer” that he tries to keep calling into question in his work.

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