From Commonplace to Common Ground: Facial Injury in Kader Attia's Continuum of Repair
Journal of War and Culture Studies
Taylor & Francis
Reason for embargo
This essay assesses the ambivalent gesture of repair in the work of the Franco-Algerian artist Kader Attia, as it is brought to bear upon the history of the facially injured soldiers of the First World War. Attia mobilises installation art to ask searching questions of the epistemological frameworks within which the experience of the gueules cassées has been understood in the last hundred years. That history is scrutinised by means of the notion of the ‘continuum’, which problematically suggests a relationship of equivalence between surgical and non-surgical repair and, equally, between Western and non-Western facial modification in the present and the past. Attia’s meditation on facial injury is contextualised here by reference to the notion of the lieu commun, literally ‘common place’, which is provocatively juxtaposed with a specular evocation of Jacob’s ladder in Attia’s Continuum of Repair.
This work was supported by the ERDF INTERREG IV A France (Channel) – England 1914-FACES-2014 (Ref : 5676 | 4286).
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Taylor & Francis via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 10, Iss. 1, pp. 66-81