Künstler / Projekt
ADEL ABDESSEMED
Ausstellungstitel
Soldaten

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Duration: 16. 01. - 14. 03. 2015

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— Text
Beschreibung - English
Last year the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research counted twenty armed conflicts worldwide, all of which were classified as wars. Add to this, one level below, 415 conflicts some of which were assessed as high-intensity. In general perception, a number of these armed clashes are so far away that they do not reach western consciousness, such as those in the Central African Republic, Myanmar or in remote regions of India. However, as the continuing fighting in Eastern Ukraine shows, war has by no means vanished from the so-called highly civilized nations of the EU. The catchword “end of history”, coined by Francis Fukuyama at the end of the Cold War, has long been proven to be an illusion. History is made, it progresses – now no longer under the straightforward conditions of an equilibrium of terror but in response to an unpredictable terrorist attack or spontaneous popular uprising in autocratic regimes.

The Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed who lives in exile once described his artistic agenda with the words “acting, resisting and creating with the intention of changing the world.” He takes into account the ubiquity of war in contemporary life and media worlds in his “Soldiers” series. His charcoal drawings of the bodies of fighters, rendered in thickly shaded lines, in full combat dress, holding a firearm in the ready, then waiting in a relaxed state for the next mission or leisurely marching ahead, are not so much individual typologies as archetypical manifestations, taken from film or photojournalistic imagery which the artist has both appropriated and abstracted in his artistic intervention.

In Abdessemed’s “Soldiers”, the mal du siècle of an age in which wars are privatized and the state’s monopoly on power has eroded finds a visual emblem. “Soldiers, soldiers are nice boys”, Marie sings in Wozzeck and one could perhaps point to an erotic quiver echoed in the subtext of the drawings - just think of the fetishist passion often triggered by men in uniform.

Abdessemed’s drawings, each depicting just one soldier in combat dress, are situated in a zone between memory and hallucination. Taken out of the narrative context where they originally unfolded their visual impact they become artistic placeholders of a hypostasized notion of shock and awe. The traumatic after-effects are usually not drawn from personal experience but from a media impact that is especially powerful in war times. Adel Abdessemed’s soldiers embody force, violence transcending any type of logic governing a state of emergency in the literal sense of the word: not as a means to an end but as cipher for an esthetic surplus of forces that are manifested in the artistic drawing under the sway of art as a fundamental ontological disposition: The horror, the horror!
quot. Thomas Miessgang 2015


TURTLE
The idea of the bomber, a suicide bomber, is linked to the idea of something sudden, precipitate. Like out of the blue, he bursts into a crowd of people, wreaking as much havoc as possible with the dynamite sticks attached to his body. A kind of “fireball” as Walter Benjamin writes, “who runs along the entire horizon of the past”, making history disintegrate “into images, not into narratives.” 
The bomber is a shadowy, umbral figure – yet with the consequences of his actions he is deeply anchored in the here and now, the hic et nunc. It thus seems paradox, at first, that Adel Abdessemed would arm a turtle with explosives. The animal that has walked the surface of the earth for 250 million years and is to be found in the symbolic worlds of very different cultures as a sign of wisdom, longevity but also intense emotions and a sensitive penetration of the world. It certainly does not evoke associations with suddenness, shock and awe, but rather with perseveration and ontological constancy. The potential of terror as it unfolds is ascribed to an animal that metaphorically speaking one could be seen as the biological link with the arcane worlds of prehistory that are no longer legible for us.
Terror has existed everywhere since time immemorial.  Adel Abdessemed, however, is able to argue with even greater sophisticated visual imagery when he links eruption to slowness, the shock over an unexpected attack to a biological entity, which given its slow locomotion can easily be deactivated by any security service. To follow Abdessemed’s line of thought: what makes the contemporary logic of attacks problematic is that it is no longer about the sudden, precipitate appearance of an accelerated world image. Rather, it is the persistence and urgency of a stubborn, unyielding stance.  This way a dialectical counter-pole is created to the dromological delirium informing the contemporary world(s). The turtle, with its decelerated mobility, thus lags far behind all the turbulence of contemporary life, allowing it to subvert the investigative gaze – NSA, CIA, FBI, KGB, you name it – and to pursue its destructive work, hidden to the eye, as it were, under Alberich’s cloak of invisibility. The turtle, as Mongolian and Indian mythology have shown, carries the mountain of worlds on its back. In Adel Abdessemed this mountain of world is highly explosive. We can only hope that the various souls that, according to Buddhist teachings, live in each turtle, reach nirvana before an explosion taking place in slow motion like in Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point blow body and soul into the negating nothing of nothingness. Or to put it the words of AC/DC: “Don’t you start no fight ‘cause I’m T.N.T. I’m dynamite.”
quot. Thomas Miessgang 2015

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Galerie
Adel Abdessemed<br />Turtle, 2015<br />camel bones, buffalo horn, tortoise shell, mixed media<br />unique copy<br />Adel Abdessemed<br />detail Turtle, 2015<br />camel bones, buffalo horn, tortoise shell, mixed media<br />unique copyAdel Abdessemed<br />exhibition view Soldaten, 2015<br />Christine König GalerieAdel Abdessemed<br /> Soldaten, 2014<br /> Charcoal on paper<br /> 189 x 130 cmAdel Abdessemed<br /> exhibition view Soldaten, 2015<br />Christine König GalerieAdel Abdessemed<br /> Soldaten, 2014<br /> Charcoal on paper<br /> 189 x 130 cmAdel Abdessemed<br /> exhibition view Soldaten, 2015<br />Christine König GalerieAdel Abdessemed<br /> Soldaten, 2014<br /> Charcoal on paper<br /> 189 x 130 cm

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