For over twenty years, the Paris-based, Algerian conceptual artist Adel Abdessemed (b. 1971) has made use of a wide range of media, including sculpture, video, drawing, performance, and photography. On view at the Centre Pompidou are twenty-five works spanning from 1990 to 2012, including such seminal works as Décor (2011-12), Telle mère tel fils (2008), Usine (2008), Bourek (2005), and a new large-scale bronze sculpture, Coup de tête (2012) depicting French soccer star Zinedine Zidane's head-butt, created especially for the exhibition and installed on the museum's plaza.
Curated by Pier Luigi Tazzi, this exhibition includes recent works including drawings, paintings, sculptures and videos, many created by the artist especially for this show in Doha.
New works presented at Mathaf include the L’âge d’or,a bas-relief work of gold-plated brass depicting the artist’s four young daughters, and Julie, a life-size sculpture of the artist's wife made from salt stone from Siwa and positioned on a rock local to the region of Qatar. A large-scale terracotta wall relief, entitled Shams, depicts and explores the unseen workers of this world. Other new sculptures include La Chine est proche, a bicycle fashioned from camel bone and East of Eden, groupings of knives thrust into the ground.
In two new video works, Abdessemed employs the percussive and rhythmic device of a bare human foot repeatedly crushing objects, of high symbolic significance: a white rose (Ayaï) and a skull (Histoire de la folie). In another new video, Printemps, violence is explored as a line of chickens against a wall appear on fire.
The exhibition also features a selection of recent works, including Mémoire (2012), a video showing a baboon spelling out ‘Tutsi’ and ‘Hutu’, referring to the opposing ethnic groups in the 1994 Rwandan genocide; and State (2013), an animation depicting labyrinth-like drawings. Placed throughout the exhibition space is Soldaten (2013), a series of large-scale charcoal drawings featuring soldiers in full gear who represent the continuous existence of war in our time.
Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art Website