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Kader Attia

In the two-screen slide show installation, Open your Eyes, Kader Attia presents unexpected pairs of images. African masks, sculptures, and other objects that have been repaired are juxtaposed with before and after photographs of soldiers whose faces were damaged during the First World War and reconstructed using rudimentary cosmetic surgery. These are interspersed with phrases like ‘the myth of perfection’ and images of bodily modifications, contrasting African and Western values and approaches to utility and aesthetics. Through its sequence of pairings, the work explores the tensions between tradition and modernity and the connections linking past and present, while also reflecting on the unquantifiable costs of war and the limitations of repair.