Kaabi-Linke was born in Tunis in 1978, and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tunis, and later at the Sorbonne University in Paris.
The art of Nadia Kaabi-Linke 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: Kaabi-Linke 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.
Kaabi-Linke has participated in numerous group exhibitions including: Sahara: What is Written Will Remain, Gallerie Delle Prigoni, Italy, 2018; Lahore Biennale, Pakistan, 2018; Inhabiting Territories, MOVIMENTA Biennale, Nice, Paris, France, 2017; Witness, Karachi Biennale, Karachi, Pakistan, 2017; 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, with Lawrie Shabibi, London, UK, 2017; Dallas Art Fair, with Lawrie Shabibi, Texas, USA, 2017; Art Dubai Contemporary, with Lawrie Shabibi, UAE, 2017; Gateway: (Re)-Birth, curated by Fabrice Bousteau, Abu Dhabi Art, UAE, 2016; Abu Dhabi Art, with Lawrie Shabibi, UAE, 2016; Borders of Visibility, 25th Slavonian Biennale, Gallery of Fine Arts, Osijek, Croatia, 2016; Songlines for a New Atlas, Kalmar konstmuseum, Sweden, 2016; Social Calligraphies: East ̶ West, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland, 2016; Between Structure and Matter: Other Minimal Futures, Curated by Prajit Dutta and Murtaza Vali, Aicon Gallery, New York, USA, 2016; But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa, Curated by Sara Raza, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA, 2016; Pushing the Boundaries –Connecting the World, VIII Tashkent Biennale of Contemporary Art, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 2016; Dallas Art Fair, with Lawrie Shabibi, Dallas, Texas, USA, 2016; But Still Tomorrow Builds into My Face, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2016; Magic and Power - Of Magic Carpets and Drones, Marta Herford Museum, Herford, Germany, 2016; Abu Dhabi Art, with Lawrie Shabibi, Abu Dhabi, UAE, 2015; Unsichtbare Manöver – Interpretationsreservate und Definitionsreviere, Galerie Wedding, Berlin, Germany, 2015; What is Home?, Pump House Gallery, London, UK, 2015; The Monsoon Show, Galerie Isa, Mumbai, India, 2015; All the World’s a Mosque, JOAU Tunis, Carthage, Tunisia, 2015; Art Dubai Contemporary, with Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2015; Wir sind alle Berliner: 1884-2014, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin, Germany, 2014; Entre nosotros / Between Us. Video Art from the Middle East and North Africa in a Global World, Etopia Center for Art and Technology, Zaragoza, Spain, 2014; Memory, Place, Desire: Contemporary Art of the Maghreb and the Maghrebi Diaspora, Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, Haverford College, Haverford, PA, USA, 2014; Sculpture du Sud #4, Villa Datris, L’Isle-sur-La-Sorgue, France, 2014; Ici l’Afrique/ Here Africa, Art for the World, Château de Penthes, Geneva, Switzerland, 2014; Arab Contemporary, Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, 2014; Conjunction, Greenhouse, Berlin, Germany, 2014; Lieux de Mémoire, Summarria Lunn Gallery, London, UK, 2013; Women Commentators, Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, Warsaw, Poland, 2013; Dysraphic City, Projektraum Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, 2013; Nouvelles vagues – Looking for video, Claudine Papillon Gallery, Paris, France, 2013; Traces, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2013; Visual Arts Festival Damascus, DEPO, Istanbul, Turkey, 2013; Conflicted Memory, Alan Cristea Gallery, London, UK, 2013; Abstract Generation: Now in Print, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC, NY, USA, 2013; Tireless Refrain, Nam June Paik Art Center, Gyeonggi-do, Seoul, South Korea, 2013; 25 Years of Arab Creativity, Bahrain National Museum, Manama, Bahrain, 2013; Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India, 2012; Drifting, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany, 2012; 25 ans de créativité arabe, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France, 2012 ; 201111111s, LEAP-Lab for Emerging Arts and Performance, Berlin, Germany, 2012; The Unexpected Guest, Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK, 2012; Chkoun Ahna – On the Track of History, Carthage Contemporary Project, National Museum of Carthage, Carthage Tunisia, 2012; Languages of Revolution, Kleine Humboldt Galerie, Berlin, Germany, 2012; Social States: Baptiste Coelho and Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Pump House Gallery, London, UK, 2012; Lines of Control - Partitions as a Productive Space, Herbert F Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA, 2012; El arte contemporáneo en el Magreb; dos orillas, Círculo de Bellas Artes Madrid, Madrid, Spain, 2011; The Future of a Promise, 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy, 2011; Based in Berlin, Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany, 2011; Different Abstractions, Green Cardamom-Project, London, UK, 2011; Drawn from Life, Green Cardamom-Project, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Cumbria, UK, 2011; 1 Year in Berlin, Christian Hosp Galerie, Berlin, Germany, 2010; Hiwar, Gallery le Violon Bleu, Carthage, Tunisia, 2010; Split, Darb 1718 Contemporary, Cairo, Egypt, 2010; Aftermath, 25th Alexandria Biennale for Mediterranean Countries, Alexandria, Egypt, 2009; Drawn from Life, Drawing form, Green Cardamom-Project, London, UK, 2009; and Provisions for the Future, 9th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UAE, 2009.
Her works are part of several public and private collections including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Solomon R. Guggenheim , NYC, NY, USA; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NYC, NY, USA; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX, USA; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; Abraaj Group Art Collection, Dubai, UAE; Fondation Villa Datris pour la Sculpture Contemporaine, l’Isle-sur-La-Sorgue, France; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; ARTER Vehbi Koç Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey; JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, New York, NY, USA; The Ramzi and Saeda Dalloul Art Foundation, Lebanon; Kamel Lazaar Collection, Tunis, Tunisia and Ministère de la Culture et de la Sauvegarde du Patrimoine, Tunis, Tunisia.
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).
Kaabi-Linke currently lives and works in Berlin.