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Adel Abdessemed

Adel Abdessemed

Adel Abdessemed
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Artist
Is Artist
From France
Type Arts
Gender male
Birth 2 March 1971, Constantine
Age 49 years
Adel Abdessemed
The details


Adel Abdessemed (born 2 March 1971, in Constantine, Algeria) is a French-Algerian conceptual artist. He lives and works in Paris and London. He is represented by Dvir Gallery (Tel Aviv).


Adel Abdessemed spent most of his childhood in Batna, Algeria. He then studied in Algiers at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, where he left in 1994 after the assassination of director Ahmed Asselah and his son inside the school.

Afterwards he lived and worked in Lyon (École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, 1994–1998), Paris (Cité internationale des arts, 1999–2000), New York (P.S.1 Scholarship, 2000–2001), Berlin (2002–2004), Paris (2005–2008), New York (2009), Paris (from 2010 to present).


"Abdessemed's art is love deprived of all romantic weakness. Love as a force, never a feeling." - Francesco Bonami

"Establishing a true state of exception is the horizon of Abdessemed’s art, whether he is twisting the cabins of airliners like paper toys, floating a skeleton more than 55 feet tall in the air, or summoning wild animals to the streets of Paris. But the young acrobat suspended from the rope of a helicopter appears as a reminder and a warning." - Patricia Falguières

"(…) Abdessemed seems to believe in a totemic spirituality. His works with animals resonate with memories of sacrificial rituals and primordial powers. True, Abdessemed does not want to go back to magic – on the contrary, he firmly believes that totems, like taboos, must be broken, since art is first of all "a means of liberation from oneself." - Massimiliano Gioni

"(…) contemporary languages and media should be invented to provide the relevant expressions for this unknown world and its modes of living. Abdessemed has created a huge number of works that are clearly iconoclastic of the established world. At the same time, they embrace and celebrate this upcoming unknown world and its uncertain but exciting orders in a state of permanent remaking…" - Hou Hanru

"(…) Abdessemed is at his most incisive on the topic of animality when dealing with human animals, a notion that stands the enlightened arbiter of reason—the humanist subject—on his head. As Larys Frogier reminds us, the artist refuses to anthropomorphize his subjects, such that non-human animals embody human feelings or accommodate our sentimental projections. On the contrary, the artist estranges the humanist subject from himself in order to reveal what is animal about him: those mechanical instincts and behaviors in which the relentless capacity to subjugate the Other is rationalized through the language of animality." - Pamela M. Lee

"To the ambient fear, he responds with something resembling a fearless aggressivity. And as in the rhetorical figure of chiasmus, the point at which these two strands cross is where those elements that fall outside of the reigning social order, those elements for which dominant ideologies cannot account, become visible. Abdessemed’s artworks are precisely materializations of that crossing, emerging from the unresolved conflicts of the present." - Tom McDonough

"In the same way that a dream’s meaning cannot be reduced to its narration but refers back to more remote phenomena taken from childhood, the meaning of Abdessemed’s works cannot be limited to their immediate, occasional origin. They refer rather to a horizon at once more distant and more ancient, made up of the totality of images and texts that have left their traces in the artist’s memory."

- Philippe-Alain Michaud

Selected exhibitions

Solo exhibitions

  • 2015 : « Adel Abdessemed: From Here to Eternity », Venus Over Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States
  • 2015 : « Adel Abdessemed: Jalousies: Complicités avec Jean Nouvel», Musée de Vence, Vence, France
  • 2015 : « Adel Abdessemed: Palace », CAC, Málaga, Spain
  • 2015 : « Adel Abdessemed: Soldaten », Christine König Galleria, Wien, Austria
  • 2015 : «Adel Abdessemed, Opening of Archives», Video Bureau, Beijing, China
  • 2014 : « Adel Abdessemed: Merci », Blondeau & Cie, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2014 : « Adel Abdessemed: Oiseau », Spatiu Intact, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
  • 2014 : « Adel Abdessemed: Mon Enfant », Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel
  • 2014 : « Adel Abdessemed: Solo », Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, France
  • 2013 : « Adel Abdessemed : Le Vase abominable», David Zwirner, London, United Kingdom
  • 2013 : « Adel Abdessemed: L’âge d’or », Mathaf, musée d’art contemporain de Doha, Qatar
  • 2012 : « Adel Abdessemed Je suis innocent »Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, France
  • 2012 : « Adel Abdessemed : Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? », David Zwirner, New York, United States
  • 2012 : « Décor: Adel Abdessemed », Musée Unterlinden, Colmar, France
  • 2011 : «Adel Abdessemed: NU », Dvir Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel
  • 2010 : « Adel Abdessemed: Silent Warriors », Parasol Unit foundation for contemporary art, London, United Kingdom
  • 2009 : « Adel Abdessemed: Le ali di dio », Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy
  • 2009 : « Adel Abdessemed: RIO  », David Zwirner, New York, United States
  • 2008 : « Adel Abdessemed: Situation and Practice », MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, United States
  • 2008 : « Adel Abdessemed: Trust Me », The Common Guild, Glasgow, Scotland
  • 2008 : « Adel Abdessemed: Don't Trust Me », Walter and McBean Galleries, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, United States
  • 2008 : « Adel Abdessemed: Drawing for Human Park », Le Magasin – Centre national d'art contemporain de Grenoble, France
  • 2007 : « Adel Abdessemed: Dead or Alive », PS 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, United States
  • 2006 : « Adel Abdessemed: Practice Zero Tolerance », La Criée, centre d'art contemporain, Rennes et Fonds régional d'art contemporain d'Île-de-France-Le Plateau centre d'art contemporain, Paris, France
  • 2004 : « Adel Abdessemed: Le Citron et le lait », Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
  • 2004 : « Adel Abdessemed: Habibi », Fonds régional d'art contemporain Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France
  • 2003 : « Adel Abdessemed : Nuit », Galleria Laura Pecci, Milan, Italy
  • 2003 : « Quarta Estacio Benifallet-Vassivière / Adel Abdessemed », Centre international d’art et du paysage de l’île de Vassivière, France
  • 2002 : « Adel Abdessemed », Institute of Visual Arts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, United States
  • 2001 : « Adel Abdessemed », Galleria Laura Pecci, Milan, Italy
  • 2001 : « Adel Abdessemed », Project Room, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland

Adel Abdessemed has also had solo exhibitions in galleries such as: Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv ("Conversation" in 2006, "Poursuite" in 2007, "NU" in 2011) ; Venus (Los Angeles: "From Here to Eternity" in 2015); David Zwirner Gallery (NYC : "Rio" in 2009, "Who's afraid of the big bad wolf?" in 2012 ; London : "Le vase abominable" in 2013).

International art events

  • 2015: 56th Venice Biennale, "All the World's Futures," Venice, Italy. Curator: Okwui Enwezor.
  • 2012: La Triennale, "Intense Proximité," Paris. Curator: Okwui Enwezor.
  • 2010: Triennale Aichi, Nagoya. Curator: Pier Luigi Tazzi.
  • 2009: 10e Biennale de la Havane. Curators: Margarita González, Nelson Herrera Ysla, José Manuel Noceda, Ibis Hernández Abascal, Margarita Sánchez Prieto, José Fernández Portal, Dannys Montes de Oca Moreda.
  • 2009: 10e Biennale d'Istanbul. Curator: Hou Hanru.
  • 2009: 10e Biennale de Lyon. Curator: Hou Hanru.
  • 2008: 7e Biennale de Gwangju. Curator: Okwui Enwezor.
  • 2007: 52e Biennale de Venise. Curator: Robert Storr.
  • 2006: 27e Biennale de São Paulo. Curator: Lisette Lagnado.
  • 2003: 49e Biennale de Venise. Curator: Francesco Bonami.
  • 2001: Triennale de Yokohama. Curator: Nakamura Nobuo.
  • 2001: Tirana Biennale. Curator: Maurizio Cattelan.
  • 2000: Manifesta 3, Ljubljana. Curator : Francesco Bonami.

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