Published On: Thu, Oct 11th, 2012

Oil and Sugar #2 – review

Kadir Attir’s Oil and Sugar #2 (2007) is on display at Tate Liverpool as part of the Thresholds exhibit, Tate’s contribution to Liverpool Biennial.

This four minute video installation echoes the theme of Territories in the Making, the third section to Tate’s Threshold exhibit addressing, “the political implications of regional conflicts & their global effects.”

Attir’s use of everyday materials conveys this concept with motor oil being poured over a block of stacked sugar cubes on a silver tray.

The reactions between the two cause the structure to collapse and resemble familiar scenes of architectural demolition.

Messy yet strangely beautiful, the high exposure of film and employment of strong daylight is mesmerizing as the reaction between oil and sugar creates a shining, viscous mass that appears to be in a state of perpetual motion.

Attir’s allegorical minimalism conjures up ideas of political conflict, imperialism, and the relationship that exists between colonizers and the colonized.

As with most of his work, in Oil and Sugar #2, the French-Algerian artist “explores the impact of western cultural and political capitalism in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Arguably the collapse of the sugar structure illustrates the conflict between two states, the destruction of a system and the creation of something almost recognizable in its wake.

Attir’s Oil and Sugar #2 stands out amongst the other pieces on display in Thresholds as a powerful piece that not only addresses ideas surrounding the weakening of ordered states but evokes our collective imagination to the possible outcome.

Hypnotic, stunning and poignant Oil and Sugar #2 is a piece to seek out during the remainder of Liverpool Biennial 2012.

About the Author

- Freelance artist and writer. After graduating from University of Liverpool in 2007 the next few years were spent developing technical skills as a visual artist. Currently working in the North West of England and engaged in postgraduate study at University of Liverpool on the Art, Aesthetics & Cultural Institutions MA programme.