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Text über den Künstler - English
Adel Abdessemed (born in 1971) is a leading figure on the international art scene. Through video, sculpture and installation, Adel Abdessemed probes the wounds of the contemporary world. Over the last twenty years his work has had numerous solo exhibitions, at PS1/MoMA, MIT List Art Center, Le Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain de Grenoble, Parasol Unit in London, Fondazione  Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Georges Pompidou (for the retrospective Adel Abdessemed : Je suis Innocent), CAC in Málaga, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal with Conflit.
Adel Abdessemed's work has been shown at three Venice Biennales (2003, 2009 and 2015), as well as at the Istanbul (2017), Havana (2009), Gwangju (2008), Lyon (2007) and Saõ Paulo (2006) biennal.
In 2016 he was guest artist at the Festival d’Avignon where he presented his project, Surfaces.
At the same time, the organisation Bold Tendencies commissioned the work Bristow as part of is arts programme in Peckham, London.
He works with creators in all fields—poetry (he has published two volumes with Adonis and several with Hélène Cixous), dance (Retour à Berratham by Angelin Preljocaj in 2015) and architecture (Jalousies, Complicités avec Jean Nouvel, Collection Lambert at the Musée de Vence in 2015). A three-volume monograph titled Works was published recently by Walther König, consisting of a catalogue of twenty years of creative work.
In 2017 he participated in the Milan Triennale The Restless Earth and the Suzu Oku-Noto Triennale in Japan.
In 2018, major monographic exhibitions will take place, among which Le Chagrin des Belges, at Dvir Gallery, Brussels, Otchi Tchiornie at Grand-Hornu, and L’Antidote in Musée d'Art Contemporain, in Lyons. This same year, he will undertake a public commission in Naoshima, Japan, as part of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale.

Adel Abdessemed's art work is a marriage made not in heaven, but in the grit and gravel of solid earth. It is one that weds violence, destruction, and anxiety with formal elegance and biting wit. For Abdessemed, a union „until death do us part“ is inaccurate since his work is a bond created at the brink of death. This theme is clearly not uncharted artistic ground, but Abdessemed's engagement with such provocative subject matter is unlike any other artist working in France or elsewhere. 

Perhaps more enticing for feline viewers than human museum-goers, Abdessemed's video, Birth of Love, is a dual metaphor for disgust and tastiness. The close-up shot of a cat eating a mouse is a concise illustration of the nature's food chain staged on the urban street. The sad story of the rodent that was stalked, hunted and killed is also the twinned tale of the happy cat that eats for another day. Recorded not far from the artist's studio, Abdessemed reminds the viewer that the shadow play of life and death, predator and prey, is never far out of sight and mind.“
Alanna Heiss, director of P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, 2007

The idea of the bomber, a suicide bomber, is linked to the idea of something sudden, precipitate. Like out of the blue, he bursts into a crowd of people, wreaking as much havoc as possible with the dynamite sticks attached to his body. A kind of “fireball” as Walter Benjamin writes, “who runs along the entire horizon of the past”, making history disintegrate “into images, not into narratives.” 
The bomber is a shadowy, umbral figure – yet with the consequences of his actions he is deeply anchored in the here and now, the hic et nunc. It thus seems paradox, at first, that Adel Abdessemed would arm a turtle with explosives. The animal that has walked the surface of the earth for 250 million years and is to be found in the symbolic worlds of very different cultures as a sign of wisdom, longevity but also intense emotions and a sensitive penetration of the world. It certainly does not evoke associations with suddenness, shock and awe, but rather with perseveration and ontological constancy. The potential of terror as it unfolds is ascribed to an animal that metaphorically speaking one could be seen as the biological link with the arcane worlds of prehistory that are no longer legible for us.
Terror has existed everywhere since time immemorial.  Adel Abdessemed, however, is able to argue with even greater sophisticated visual imagery when he links eruption to slowness, the shock over an unexpected attack to a biological entity, which given its slow locomotion can easily be deactivated by any security service. To follow Abdessemed’s line of thought: what makes the contemporary logic of attacks problematic is that it is no longer about the sudden, precipitate appearance of an accelerated world image. Rather, it is the persistence and urgency of a stubborn, unyielding stance.  This way a dialectical counter-pole is created to the dromological delirium informing the contemporary world(s). The turtle, with its decelerated mobility, thus lags far behind all the turbulence of contemporary life, allowing it to subvert the investigative gaze – NSA, CIA, FBI, KGB, you name it – and to pursue its destructive work, hidden to the eye, as it were, under Alberich’s cloak of invisibility. The turtle, as Mongolian and Indian mythology have shown, carries the mountain of worlds on its back. In Adel Abdessemed this mountain of world is highly explosive. We can only hope that the various souls that, according to Buddhist teachings, live in each turtle, reach nirvana before an explosion taking place in slow motion like in Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point blow body and soul into the negating nothing of nothingness. Or to put it the words of AC/DC: “Don’t you start no fight ‘cause I’m T.N.T. I’m dynamite.”
Thomas Miessgang, 2015

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