Adel Abdessemed | the artist




The artist Adel Abdessemed
Born 1971, Constatine, Algeria.
Lives and works in USA.

Style and technique of the artist: Video, Photography, Venice Biennale, Istanbul Biennial, Sydney Biennale,

Whether working with knives that have been turned in on themselves to create a field of fleurs du mal, oversized drill bits carved from black marble, a model of the luxury cruise liner Queen Mary created out of the recycled refuse of corporate culture or the front portion of an airplane folded like soft pastry, Abdessemed invokes the specter of destruction even as he celebrates its transformative energy. The boats and planes that appear in his work are both benign instruments of post-colonial global communion and empty vessels waiting to be filled with deadly meaning.


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Whether working with knives that have been turned in on themselves to create a field of fleur de mal, oversized drill bits carved from black marble, a model of the luxury cruise liner Queen Mary created out of the recycled refuse of corporate culture or the front portion of an airplane folded like soft pastry, Abdessemed invokes the specter of destruction even as he celebrates its transformative energy.
Wall Drawing (2006) consists of nine large circles whose diameters are exactly the height of the artist or his partner, made out of razor wire of the kind used in the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. The perfection of the geometric form clashes with the threatening aspect of the material, with its connotations of harsh oppression and suffering. It creates an extreme tension between form and expression, the conceptual and existential dimensions…
Many museums and modern art centres all over the world have devoted solo exhibitions to the artist: MAMCO in Geneva, the Magasin de Grenoble, the Kunstverein in Heidelberg, the Institute of Art in San Francisco as well as the Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art in London. From 2001 Abdessemed has also contributed to a number of biennials and triennials, which includes those in Yokohama, Tirana, Venice, Istanbul, Lyon, Havana and Sydney.
Le Citron et le Lait
Religion, and especially the three monotheisms, is an important subject in Abdessemedís work. Various works explore, with a keen eye, the concepts underlying these beliefs. The neon One Life, One Love, One God revolves in paradoxical way around the concept of uniqueness in all aspects of life, while otherness is at the core of the artistís history, this being especially due to the racism he was faced with after moving from Algeria…
Adel Abdessemed left Algeria in 1994 by political choice. “When there is no peace an quiet at home, you have to go somewhere else, otherwise it is the death of your soul. The essential thing is to act, to fight, and to create in order to transform the world.” He is an artist who is demanding and generous. The artist draws the subjects in his work from his personal history of exile and from his relationship with the world. In touching on taboos and interdictions, he is also “acting against the laws and morals” established to the sole end of restricting life…


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