adel abdessemed explores war in an exhibition at david zwirner
original content
feb 22, 2013
adel abdessemed explores war in an exhibition at david zwirner


‘cri’, 2013
ivory
image © adel abdessemed, ADAGP paris 2012
courtesy the artist and david zwirner new york/london

 

 

adel abdessemed: le vase abominable
david zwirner gallery london
on from 22nd of february  through to march 30th, 2013

 

david zwirner gallery, london presents an selection of new works by adel abdessemed in an exhibition entitled ‘le vase abominable’ – through a variety of media abdessemed transforms familiar materials and imagery into charged artistic statements. the artist informs his work with a miscellany of sources – personal, historical, social, and political – to build a visual narrative that is both sensitive yet controversial, mundane but provocative.

 

the cultural references become increasingly inseparable from topics of war, violence, and spectatorship. a group of work references a well-known reportage photograph of children fleeing a napalm attack during the vietnam war. made entirely in mammoth ivory, ‘cri’ depicts the young girl in the center of the image, running naked with her arms outstretched and her mouth open in a scream. this life-sized figure is surrounded by a series of drawings featuring soldiers in full gear – they may represent those surrounding the children in the photograph, or any other armed conflict.

 

an animation, entitled ‘state’, is projected onto all four walls in a separate room and features drawings which recall republican prisoner protests at HM prison maze in northern ireland during the late 1970s and early 1980s. fighting for their right to wear their own clothes on the basis that they were not convicted criminals, they wrapped themselves in blankets rather than the provided uniforms and refused to leave their cells, which in turn were not sufficiently cleaned. they consequently smeared the walls with their own excrement, beginning the so-called ‘dirty protests’.

 

the ground floor shows the work, and title, of the exhibition, ‘le vase abominable’, a two-meter tall copper pot on top of a replica of a large explosive device, a carefully crafted bomb, whose connection to the vase remains is unclear. nearby is a group of five smaller, similarly shaped vases each made from a different material, including gold, gum, and salt.

 

 


installation view of adel abdessemed’s studio in paris with cri (2013) and drawings
‘cri’, 2013
ivory
56 inches (142 cm)
image © adel abdessemed, ADAGP paris 2012
courtesy the artist and david zwirner new york/london

 

 


‘soldaten’, 2013
charcoal on paper
72 1/2 x 51 1/4 inches (184.30 x 130.10 cm)
image © adel abdessemed, ADAGP paris 2012
courtesy the artist and david zwirner new york/london

 

 

‘soldaten’, 2013
charcoal on paper
72 3/8 x 51 1/8 inches (183.90 x 130.00 cm)

 

 

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