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Kader Attia’s work Holly Land, 2007, was originally created as a large-scale installation for an open area by the sea. This work – which was first exhibited in the Canary Islands and later in St. Tropez – was composed of about 90 mirrors shaped like gothic or Oriental arches, which Attia installed along the coast. Facing in the direction of the sea, the mirrors situated throughout the somewhat mountainous landscape resembled a sporadic scattering of tombstones and signs in an old cemetery devoid of formal pathways. The reflection of the sea in the mirrors creates a strange and majestic image – while producing a spatial illusion that blurs the distinctions between sea and dry land, front and rear ends, reality and simulation. Yet the illusion Attia is concerned with exceeds this initial and clearly understood context, and touches in a profound and surprising manner upon one of the central experiences of immigration. 
The Holly Land alluded to in the title of this work is the land to which the crusaders and various other groups and individuals journeyed over the centuries, motivated by religious longing. Yet from the perspective of the uprooted immigrant, the destination – whatever it might be – appears as a new, secular holly land holding a sacred promise of social, cultural or economic – rather than religious – salvation.
One may imagine such an immigrant looking from the sea at this landscape of scintillating mirrors, which – like a lighthouse – seems to guide the traveler towards his destination. Yet one may also imagine the immigrant arriving on shore and approaching the mirror-studded field – only in order to discover in it the reflection of the open sea form which he just arrived. 
Attia’s work thus confronts the immigrant with the reflection of the place he came from – with his own reflection and with himself. Indeed, it seems that no matter where and when we arrive, we never really feel like we have reached the promised land. Even our longest journeys finally lead us back to ourselves; to the places we have come from, to the placed we thought we had deserted; to our past, our memories, our hopes and our desires.
As far as we journey, we can go no further than our point of departure and than our own selves. And so, perhaps, one may end up concluding – and this is a politically radical conclusion – that the true holly land is actually within us; that this internal land is the true land we must strive to inhabit, the one we must struggle to protect.

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 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

Holy Land

Kader Attia’s work Holly Land, 2007, was originally created as a large-scale installation for an open area by the sea. This work – which was first exhibited in the Canary Islands and later in St. Tropez – was composed of about 90 mirrors shaped like gothic or Oriental arches, which Attia installed along the coast. Facing in the direction of the sea, the mirrors situated throughout the somewhat mountainous landscape resembled a sporadic scattering of tombstones and signs in an old cemetery devoid of formal pathways. The reflection of the sea in the mirrors creates a strange and majestic image – while producing a spatial illusion that blurs the distinctions between sea and dry land, front and rear ends, reality and simulation. Yet the illusion Attia is concerned with exceeds this initial and clearly understood context, and touches in a profound and surprising manner upon one of the central experiences of immigration. 
The Holly Land alluded to in the title of this work is the land to which the crusaders and various other groups and individuals journeyed over the centuries, motivated by religious longing. Yet from the perspective of the uprooted immigrant, the destination – whatever it might be – appears as a new, secular holly land holding a sacred promise of social, cultural or economic – rather than religious – salvation.
One may imagine such an immigrant looking from the sea at this landscape of scintillating mirrors, which – like a lighthouse – seems to guide the traveler towards his destination. Yet one may also imagine the immigrant arriving on shore and approaching the mirror-studded field – only in order to discover in it the reflection of the open sea form which he just arrived. 
Attia’s work thus confronts the immigrant with the reflection of the place he came from – with his own reflection and with himself. Indeed, it seems that no matter where and when we arrive, we never really feel like we have reached the promised land. Even our longest journeys finally lead us back to ourselves; to the places we have come from, to the placed we thought we had deserted; to our past, our memories, our hopes and our desires.
As far as we journey, we can go no further than our point of departure and than our own selves. And so, perhaps, one may end up concluding – and this is a politically radical conclusion – that the true holly land is actually within us; that this internal land is the true land we must strive to inhabit, the one we must struggle to protect.

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

 The CDA's archives are operating with the support of the Ostrovsky Family Fund and Artis
 

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