How the Evil “Other” Was Conceptually Constructed Over Centuries


How the Evil “Other” Was Conceptually Constructed Over Centuries
Artists Kader Attia and Jean-Jacques Lebel’s transcultural and transgenerational collaborative exhibition attempts to face down and recover from human evil through the superfluity of artistic imagination.

By: Joseph Nechvatal

Over the course of that questioning hour, I believe I felt the pricks of pain of the Other and definitely bore the chagrin that goes with being a seeker of love and happiness for all. While respectful of the somewhat brutal scenario the artist-curators have arranged, I came to feel a bit blithe with their own autobiographical art that theoretically plots a general approach to cultural and psychic recovery. Indeed, in wake of all the memorable dystopian heartbreak on view, their work seems replete with the kinds of unintentional cultural contradictions that make satirists salivate. But in a moment defined by fundamentalist self-certainty on both left and right, One and the Other is an example of a more mercurial meditation on human violence. Its generosity of recuperative vision, even when it mocks, rescues it from replicating the cruelty it critiques. Indeed, One and the Other imagines its viewers capable of growth and models that growth of a singular, unique individual with the complexity of multitudes — something from which we need not recover.