Nadia Kaabi-Linke

Butcher Bliss
Flying Carpets

"The flying carpet is a dream of instantaneous and boundless travel, but in Venice I saw illegal immigrants using carpets to fly the coop. They sell counterfeit goods to make some money to live. If they’re caught by the police they risk expulsion.

There was a butcher in Tunis who wanted to honour Ben Ali, by calling his shop ‘Butcher shop of the 7th November’, the day when Ben Ali assumed the presidency in a ‘medical’ coup d’état from then President Habib Bourguiba. After he did so, he disappeared without a trace.

Both works document the crossing of borders: traversing the European border as EU-citizen, or not; the wide line between insult and homage transgressed through the unspoken proximity of slaughter and the governance of the former Tunisian regime; and the whispered longing for freedom in the police state of Cairo."

1978 born in Tunis, Tunisia and lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

Nadia Kaabi-Linke studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tunis, and later at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

Her art is related to places and their histories; it is as time-specific as it is site-specific. The installations and objects, as well as her pictorial works, are anchored in constellations of cultural and historical, social and political contexts and refer to a certain place or to coincidental events. Making use of many different media, artefacts, symbolisms and codes, her work is intertwined with socio-psychological topics: perception, memory, and geographically and politically constructed identities. Also present in her work is a unique performative force, which she generates through her active and constructive use of disturbing contradictions bringing together beauty and violence, refinement and brutality, the sublime and the vulgar. Even though she changes media and her forms of expression, there is a particular coherence in her artistic work which results from one and the same motive: Nadia performs a kind of archaeology of contemporary life, which exposes the survivals of the past.

She has participated in several solo exhibitions including: Impossible Ordinary, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2018-19; VersiegelteZeit [Sealed Time], Kunstmuseum, Bonn, Germany, 2017-2018; The After-Image of Residue, with Experimenter, Frames Section, Frieze New York, USA, 2017;  Lost and Found, Experimenter, Kolkata, India, 2016; Walk the Line, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, TX, USA, 2015; FAHRENHEIT311: Seven Legends of Machismo, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2015; No Frills, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, Portugal, 2015; The Future Rewound and The Cabinet of Souls, The Mosaic Rooms, London, UK, 2014; In Confinement My Desolate Mind Desires, Experimenter, Art Basel, Hong Kong, 2014; MeinStein, Neukölln, Berlin, Germany, 2014; Stranded – Preso por fios, Centro de Arte Moderna da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal, 2014; No One Harms Me, Experimenter, Kolkata, India, 2013, Black is the New White, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2012; Tatort/Crime Scene, Christian Hosp Galerie, Berlin, Germany, 2010; and Archives de banalities tunisoises, Gallery El Marsa, Tunis, Tunisia, 2009.

She has received a number of awards; New Discoveries Prize at Art Basel Hong Kong (2014), the Abraaj Capital Art Prize, Dubai, UAE (2011), First prize in UmbauStadt art and Urban Architecture Competition, Berlin, Germany (2010), and the Jury Prize at the Alexandria Biennale (2009).

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