Adel Abdessemed: An Imperial Message 阿岱尔•阿德斯梅：御旨
2022年 7月 16日 – 2022年 9月 11日
Adel Abdessemed probes the wounds of our present. His art, which spans the media of drawing, video, sculpture, poetry, sound, and installation, unfolds as a powerful experience of opposing materials, emotions, and concepts. Titled An Imperial Message after Franz Kafka’s short parable, the exhibition features around 40 pieces of work by the artist, among which more than 10 are newly created. Collectively, the works on view carve out an introspective journey, inviting the audience to reflect upon the violence pervading the contemporary world we inhabit and confront our own profound feelings, fears, and desires.
Born in 1971 in Algeria, Abdessemed now lives and works in Paris, France. The artist produces works deeply embedded in power issues. Both his character and his work reveal that he is a fierce guardian of the essential pillars of humanity, of love, of compassion, and of hope. Through evocative yet subtle experience, Abdessemed’s works suppress our systemic desensitization to violent acts. In so doing, the artist shows his unique ability to convene the seemingly discordant elements of tenderness and shock.
As Larys Frogier, Director of Rockbund Art Museum, puts: “Adel Abdessemed has a unique position in contemporary art, and the way he touches those who engage his works has virtually no equivalent. That effect lies in his unique use of raw, simple materials and words, as well as straightforward but very subtle fabrication of the image, but also in the way his works revisit some of the historical and theoretical assumptions in the contemporary arts.”
Together with a series of public programs, an exhibition catalogue will extend to topics ranging from public domain, artistic strategy and background through multiple mediums such as poetry, music and novel. An Exhibition Reference Space will be available to visitors at the east gallery on the fourth floor where they may encounter videos, books, interviews and reviews in order to gain more insight into Adel Abdessemed’s practice. Moreover, visitors are encouraged to rearrange the artworks in the guidebook, creating a unique journey of exploration.
Adel Abdessemed’s art stems from, but it is not just plain narratives of trauma. Underlying the depiction of trauma lies the power of life. The exhibition starts from a newly-produced series of large charcoal drawings. Entitled Air, the series features human body figures in various postures floating in the void of paper, capturing the various moments of falling.
Taking the steps down, the music follows. The piece pervading the fourth and fifth floors is titled Die Taubenpost (The Homing Pigeon). It was composed by Franz Schubert at the end of his life and published posthumously. Referring to this piece, Abdessemed’s video shows a pigeon standing quietly on a metallic barrier in front of a dark background. A nine-meter-long painting entitled Alger Alger is opposite of the video. Black lines and patterns are hidden in between the extensive range of reds. They are the musical staves. In fact, Alger Alger is an homage to the vibrant popular song of the same name by Lili Boniche. The lyrics tell the story of an exiled person missing and remembering the city and his family. It also mirrors the artist’s departure from and deep attachment to his hometown of Algiers, where influential poets, musicians, and resistants were (and still are) very active and vigorous.
A video work, Un Chat noir passe entre nous (A Cat Passing in between Us), welcomes visitors to the third floor. The “eyes / I” of the black cat, who is able to see perfectly in the dark space, is gazing at the “eyes / I” of the visitors, immersing the visitors in darkness. Echoing the homing pigeon and the wandering black cat, a video on the second floor, Politics of the Studio, Nelson, shows a massive white bull standing in the artist’s studio. The bull’s eyes are alert as it tries to find a position in an unfamiliar space. The same floor also presents the artist’s representative large-scale works, including sculptural work Eran las cinco en todos los relojes (It Was Five on All Clocks) and “Cocorico,” an ongoing painting series began in 2016. The artist flattens and reassembles metal cans discarded in the ocean, landfills, and streets to form specific colors and patterns.
阿岱尔·阿德斯梅（Adel Abdessemed）研究并探索我们当下的创伤，他的作品跨越绘画、影像、雕塑、诗歌、声音等不同媒介，展现了材料、情感和概念的强烈碰撞。本次展览以弗兰兹·卡夫卡的短篇寓言《御旨》（An Imperial Message）命名，集中呈现艺术家的40余件作品，其中10余件为新作。阿德斯梅邀请观众通过展览开启一场内省之旅，思考遍布世界的暴力行为，以及直面我们内在的感受、恐惧和欲望。
拾级而下，弥漫在五楼和四楼空间中的悠扬乐音是弗朗兹·舒伯特（Franz Schubert）的临终遗作《信鸽》。阿德斯梅沿用了这件遗作的名字，带来影像作品《信鸽》，画面中一片深色背景前，一只信鸽安静地站在金属栏杆上张望。而正对它的，是一幅名为《阿尔及尔 阿尔及尔》的9米长幅画卷，大片的红色起伏之间隐见音符与五线谱。本件作品也是对阿尔及利亚歌手莉莉·博尼切（Lili Boniche）创作的同名流行歌曲的致敬之作，讲述了流亡者缅怀故土和家人的故事。画作映射出流亡分离的主题，以及艺术家对阿尔及利亚及其首都阿尔及尔的怀念和敬意。阿尔及尔不仅与艺术家有着深厚情感连接，并且大多数阿尔及尔的重要诗人、音乐家和抵抗者在历史中的艰难时期展现出了极大的活跃度和创造力。