Adel Abdessemed (born 1971 in Constantine, lives and works in Paris and Berlin) deconstructs identity
codes, tackling head-on the tensions that
permeate our society.
His works, with their
typical simplicity—sculptural installations, drawings,
photographs, videos and performances—echo
precise facts and familiar situations, but go
beyond narrative commentary and militant
criticism. Adel Abdessemed questions, among
other things, the social and economic status
of the artist in a system where his foothold
is slight, by shrewdly keeping a distance
in a gesture of subversive and committed
Abdessemed refuses to be limited to a single ideology.
In his early works he passionately tackled religious, sexual, and taboos subjects and his later exhibitions have often focused on the theme of global violence. In an interview with Elisabeth Lebovici
he stated, "I do not live between two cultures. I am not a postcolonial artist. I am not working on the scar and am not mending anything. I am just a detector … In the public sphere, I use passion and rage. Nothing else. I don't do illusions."
Sometimes reduced to a simple word, as in "Mohammedkarlpolpot" (1999), a condensation of names evoking totalitarism and religion, and sometimes complex and monumental installations such as "Habibi" (2004), a suspended skeleton of 17 meters propelled by a jet engine, Abdessemed's practice belongs to a new generation of artists who appeared recently on the French art scene, looking to offer another perspective on culture and identity.