Alfonso Artiaco gallery is pleased to announce the first solo show by Adel Abdessemed at our gallery, Saturday, February 9th at 7 pm
with the presence of the artist.
For his first solo exhibition at the Alfonso Artiaco gallery, Candele Candelotti e Sei Lumini, Adel Abdessemed presents 27 new works from the Cocorico Painting series (2016-2018), together with new drawings on paper and the video Un Chat noir passé entre nous (2018).
“Adel Abdessemed has always been fascinated by the ductility of materials, by the intrinsic possibilities that each of them possesses, which are always the starting point of his artistic creation. The material in use is then an essential part of his acte: in his idiolect Adel Abdessemed defines his works as actes, acts. In fact, the artist doesn’t limit himself to working with their specific characteristics and potential, but he, instead, wants to emphasise and enhance the cultural and historical qualities which each material bears. So far, his research brought him to work with an incredible variety of different materials from wool to hashish, from metals (steel, bronze, aluminium, copper, gold) to terracotta; from marbles (white Carrara marble, black marble from Belgium) to barbed wire, from glass to stuffed animals and burnt wood, from ivory to salt, from rubber to camel bones, from porcelain to jade and lacquer, from raw clay to gypsum, from epoxy resins to plasticine.
The first time he used printed tins, used to make containers of various kinds, from food to chemicals, was in 2005 with a work of modest size, Monsieur Poulet, which has never been displayed.
The title of this piece is a direct reference to the film Cocorico Monsieur Poulet (1974) directed by the trio “Dalarou”, in which - “rou” stands for Jean Rouche, (Paris, 1917 - Birni N’Konni 2004), the French filmmaker and anthropologist, creator of the cinéma vérité and pioneer of visual anthropology.
The investigation of printed cans as an artistic medium continued in 2007 with the works titled Queen Mary II and the successful series of the Mappemondes, made between 2010 and 2014.
In 2016 Adel Abdessemed started the Cocorico Paintings, whose production is still in progress and whose titles, as mentioned, still refer to the Rouche & Co’s film. In his own way, Adel Abdessemed deals with painting and its glorious multi-millennial history. In each work, mostly in the lower left corner, a word or a phrase is inscribed. It is neither a title, nor a semantic or narrative indication, nor a slogan that stands out on the pictorial background: it is rather a side note, from which all the evocative potential of each piece emerges to combine words and background.
The artist has always been fascinated by the power of the word, as highlighted by the titles that he gives to his works, which far from being descriptive, always trigger a process of interaction, often of great emotional intensity, with the icon. No matter which form the icon assumes, be it a video or a sculpture, or even a neon (highest verbal expression used as an essential form of the work), the final desire is to interact with the viewer, as it happened in Exit (1996-2009), or in Thanks Facebook (2012), and in manual writing as, among others, in that seminal work which is La Naissance de Mohammed Karlpolpot (1999).
For Candele Candelotti e Sei Lumini the texts which have been used come from different languages and origins, from French to English and of course Italian which in this case is dominant. Adel Abdessemed gathered the language from Italian and non-Italian friends, reading Roberto Saviano’s writings and of course listening to Totò, from whom he obtained the mythical Neapolitan toponymy.” (Pier Luigi Tazzi)
Adel Abdessemed (1971, Constantine, Algeria) is a prominent figure of the international art scene.
From drawing to video, from sculpture to installation, Adel probes in the wounds of our present. His work has been the subject, during the last thirty years, of numerous major solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1 in New York, MIT List Art Center in Cambridge (Massachusetts), at the Magasin — Centre National d’Art Contemporain in Grenoble, at Parasol Unit in London, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, at the Musée national d’Art Moderne — Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris for a retrospective, «Adel Abdessemed. Je suis Innocent» (2012), at the CAC in Málaga, or at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal.
Two major monographic exhibitions took place in 2018: Otchi Tchiornie at the Musée du Grand-Hornu in Belgium, and L’Antidote at the MAC Lyon. Adel Abdessemed’s work has been presented at four Venice Biennales (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015), where he received the Benesse Prize (2007), at two Biennales in Istanbul (2007, 2017), and in the Biennales of Havana (2009), Gwangju (2008), Lyon (2007), and São Paulo (2006).
In 2010, he participated in the first Triennale in Aichi, in 2017 at the Triennale of Milan and at the Triennale Oku-Noto in Suzu (Japan). In 2018 he participated at the Triennale Echigo-Tsumari Art. In the same year, he was also part of the Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles, where he displayed a series of photographs and sculptures curated by Jean Nouvel. In 2015 he directed the scenography and light of Retour à Berratham, during the Avignon Festival, for the choreographer Angelin Preljocaj. In 2016, he was invited to drawn the poster for the Avignon Festival and to create his project Surfaces. At the same time, the organisation Bold Tendencies commissioned him the work Bristow as a part of its artistic programmes in Peckham (London).
He maintains a collaboration with creators from all fields, such as poetry (two books with Adonis, and many with Hélène Cixous) or architecture (Jalousies. Complicités avec Jean Nouvel, in the Collection Lambert at the Musée de Vence, in 2015).
Recently, the three-volume monograph Works 1988-2015 came out, published by Koenig Books, bringing together a catalogue of nearly 30 years of creation.