Born in Constantine, Algeria, Adel Abdessemed has established himself as a prominent figure on the international contemporary art scene. Across a wide range of media, including drawing, video, photography, performance, and sculpture, he transforms everyday materials and images into unexpected and charged artistic declarations. Pulling freely from myriad sources—personal, social, and political—his visual language is simultaneously rich and direct, sensitive and controversial, radical and mundane. Abdessemed’s art addresses the underlying effects of globalized society on the individual, often using his own personal circumstances as a point of departure.
The artist attended the École des Beaux-Arts d’Alger, Algiers, and the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, France. In 2008, he joined David Zwirner Gallery, where he had his first American gallery solo exhibition, RIO, in 2009. Adel Abdessemed: Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? marked his second solo show at the gallery in 2012.
A major survey of the artist’s work was on view at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (October 3, 2012 – January 7, 2013). A special presentation was recently held at the Musée d’Unterlinden in Colmar, France, and it displayed Abdessemed’s Décor (2011-2012), four life-size sculptures of the cruciﬁed Jesus made entirely from razor wire, next to German Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece. Other notable solo exhibitions include the following venues: Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, London; Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto (both 2010); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin (2009); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco Art Institute (both 2008); P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York (2007); and the Musée d’art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (2004).
The artist has participated in a number of important group exhibitions, including In Praise of Doubt, Punta della Dogana, Venice; Seeing is believing, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (both 2011); Aichi Triennale 2010, Nagoya, Japan (2010); Mapping the Studio: Artists from the François Pinault Collection, Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana, Venice; 10th Lyon Biennale, France; 10th Istanbul Biennial; 10th Havana Biennial (all 2009); 7th Gwangju Biennial, Gwangju, South Korea (2008); 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); Happiness: A Survival Guide for Art and Life, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo (2003); Yokohama Triennale (2001); and Manifesta 3, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2000).
His work is represented in prominent collections internationally, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; and the François Pinault Foundation, Venice. He lives and works in Paris.
When American artist Robert Rauschenberg opened his first and last gallery exhibition in China, (he died shortly thereafter), it was with Galleri Faurschou in Beijing, owned by Danish collectors Jens Faurschou, and his now former wife, Luise. Jens Faurschou took Ai Weiwei to see the show and the acclaimed Chinese artist, impressed by both the...
From 6 October 2013 to 5 January 2014, Qatar’s Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is presenting ”L’âge d’or”, a solo exhibition by the Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed. Mathaf Director Abdellah Karroum acknowledged the ‘challenging’ nature of the show, with some of the works attracting derision from the...