“Tank” 2015, charcoal on paper, 42 x 59 cm
Last article featured on Adel’s spontaneous response to what is going on in the present society, which leads to a question to know what was his original landscape as an artist.
Born in Algeria, he started studying art at the age of sixteen in Batna, a small but core city for Algeria revolution. There he received the drawing inspiration from Joseph Beuys, and he entered the Ecole des Beaux-arts at Algiers, but had to leave his country in 1994.
"Exit" 1996, Blue neon, 11 x 26 cm
After years he exhibited a work entitled “Exit” in neon tube, a reflection of his tortured struggle for finding his own identity outside his home country. This piece was awarded Benessee Prize at Venice Biennale in 2007. Following his installation in France, he exhibited a wide range of works as an art student of Ecole national superieure des Beaux -Arts in Lyon.
"Exit" Yellow neon, 23,5 x 34,9 cm, 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007
Renowned curator and art critic, Hans Ulrich Obrist recalls his first encounter with Adel at Biennale de Lyon.
“The poetic strength that makes Abdessemed’s work unique is already vividly present in this early work, in which the lines between the private and public spheres are blurred, the tensions between tradition and contemporaneity are exacerbated. At that time, it was already evident that Adel Abdessemed refused to be limited to a single ideology or medium. He has unstoppably tackled religious, sexual, and political taboos through video, drawing, photography. He has traveled from one subject to another, firmly undecided. I was lucky enough to attend his Kafkaesque birth as an artist, and to witness the premises o his liminal practice; from this time he has preserved and nurtured one thing: a perpetual birth cry.” ※１
The installation view of solo show : Play it Again, 2020
As pointed above, surely Adel’s works range widely from one medium to another, among which drawings have had an important role as a prototype of his ideas. He draws various poses of human beings, numerous species of animals and birds together with repetitive geometrical motifs and vehicles, and meaningful texts. Some notes left at the corner of the paper betray the concepts or the sentiments of the artist.
“From Here to Eternity”2015, charcoal on paper, 42 x 59 cm
“From Here to Eternity” exhibited in the show reflects strongly the bodily consciousness of the human being. It may have been inspired with the “Lovers” by Rene Magritte.
“Trabajo”2015, charcoal on paper, 59 x 42 cm
Another work entitled “Trabajo” or work seems to shed light on the people in the working class. They remind us of the sweepers who collects the refuse and the ruins of history, the chiffonier aims at recapturing the past in all its humble materiality, since a possible “agent of redemption” in history is precisely the “lowest of the low.”
Drawings are not only appreciated as pieces of work, but also as a prototype of the enlarged installation. Such are the examples of “Décor”, “Coup de Tete”, or “Cri” with respective drawings.
“Play it again” 2019, charcoal on paper, 42 x 29.7cm (front side)
“Play it again” 2019, charcoal on paper, 42 x 29.7 cm (back side)
This drawing is the very plan drawing for the Ichihara Art x Mix 2020, which was postponed due to the pandemic caused by coronavirus. Adel is one the most popular artists invited to this Triennale to create an installation using an old upright piano. He will place the piano hung from the pedestrian bridge of the Goi Station. There the piano plays automatically the Jazz piece inviting the passers-by to see off for the itinerary of the festival. The piano has already been transported to Ichihara to be kept there by next spring.
As Adel exhibited an installation with music in Tsumari Triennale 2018, he conceives this time a casual musical piece, appropriate for the image of the city. Please expect the extraordinary installation under the clear sky of Ichihara.
■ICHIHARA ART x MIX 2020
Get a glimpse of the world through art in Boso-Satoyama
Schedule after postponement:
March 20 (Sat)-May 16 (Sun) 2021 58 days
Areas along the Kominato railway in Ichihara, Chiba, Japan.
Goi , Ushiku , Takataki , Heizo, Satomi , Tsukizaki / Tabuchi, Tsukide , Shiratori , Yoro-Keikoku
※１Adel Abdessemed 2015 Koenig Books p.102