Kader Attia: Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder

Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom
26 Nov 2013 - 01 Nov 2014

Whitechapel Gallery presets the site-specific commission Continuum of Repair: The Light of Jacob’s Ladder, by French Algerian artist Kader Attia. Attia’s immersive, multi-media installation gives a glimpse of infinity. He revisits the story of Jacob’s Ladder describing the prophet’s vision of angels ascending from earth to heaven. A towering floor to ceiling structure fills the lofty spaces of the Gallery as a cabinet of curiosities, artefacts and books.

This new work of art is the result of Kader Attia’s engagement with a space steeped in history as the reading room of a former library. It looks at the idea of books and objects as receptacles of history, continuously carrying memories with them. The installation also maps the evolution of knowledge through the study of science, anthropology, politics and physics.

Kader Attia’s multi-media installations reflect on anthropology, politics and science and are rooted in history and archival research. His works explore ideas around identity in an age of globalisation and are informed by the experience of growing up between Algeria and the Parisian suburbs, and later living in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela.

The installation is the latest chapter in Kader Attia’s research into the concept of repair, which he sees as an underlying principle of development and evolution in both culture and nature. As Attia says ‘the biggest illusion of the Human Mind is probably the one on which Man has built himself: the idea that he invents something, when all he does is repair.’


Kader Attia was born in Dugny, France and he has exhibited widely internationally including at art survey dOCUMENTA (13), 2012. This is his first UK exhibition.