Kader Attia is a multi-form French visual artist, recipient of the Prize Marcel Duchamp, a prestigious national honor for contemporary artists awarded in France. The following essay is based on a French-language interview between Attia and Thomas Baumgartner on Radio Nova in October 2016. In it, Attia investigates the many layers of fracture that underpin social crises in Western Europe — and a hope for dialogue. All quotes are translations of the writer.

Explaining what motivates his work as an artist, Kader Attia speaks in his native French of réparation. He does not simply mean “fixing” as we might be tempted to translate into English. Instead, réparation can be thought of as transformation. You get a semblance of the original, but in the process of mending an object is always made new.
More… “An Artist’s Search for Cultural Reparation in France”

Jared Spears is a writer based in Brooklyn. His work has recently appeared in Philosophy Now and on Jacobin, Lit Hub, and elsewhere on the web.


My friend Bob took me into his basement the other day to have a look at his hobby.  This was not a stamp or coin collection; there was no woodshop, pool table, recording studio, or S&M chamber, for that matter. Instead, the room was taken over from one end to the other by a model train village. Bob had worked on this village with his now-adult children since they were very young, and the hobby stretched back even further to his own childhood, when he acquired his first train set. What lay before me was thus a kind of embodied landscape for my friend’s development into the person he is today. There were the old trains and the newer ones, there was city hall (the city named after his daughter), the county seat (named after his son), his parents’ pizzeria, his wife’s dress shop. He could tell me when and… More…

There’s a place in France where the naked ladies dance. There’s a hole in the wall where the men can see it all. Except in this case, the lady isn’t dancing. She’s lying naked in a park. Her legs are splayed open to reveal a hairless vagina, more of a cleft than anything else. A waterfall glitters in the background. She could be a corpse but for the fact that she is holding a lantern with her left arm. From the peephole in the wooden door we cannot see her head.

“Marcel Duchamp: ‘Étant donnés’” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Through Nov. 29, 2009.

This is Marcel Duchamp’s last work. It is three-dimensional, something like a diorama. The naked woman is a life-sized model made from a cast of a woman Duchamp was once in love with. The… More…