Adel Abdessemed, born on 2 March 1971 in Constantine, Algeria, is a prominent figure on the international art scene. He lives and works in Paris.
Abdessemed is a conceptual artist who works in a range of media including drawing, video, photography, performance, and sculpture, and collaborates with creators from many fields, from poetry to dance and architecture. He manipulates familiar materials and images to create provocative and often violent works influenced by his exposure to the Gulf War and its global impact. Drawing on personal, political, and historical narratives, the artist believes that his art “is a confrontation that leads to a break with the norm and is accompanied by extreme anger,” but that his work is simultaneously “…actually positive. The world is violent – not me».
Abdessemed’s work has been presented at four Venice Biennales (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015), where he received the Benesse Prize in 2007. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at major institutions including the Centre Georges Pompidou, the San Francisco Art Institute, MoMA PS1, and the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain in Geneva. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Musée national d’art moderne Georges-Pompidou, Paris, the Collection Budi Tek, Shanghai, and the Fondation François Pinault, Venice, among others.
Portrait : photography of G. Bensimon, courtesy of the artist