Adel Abdessemed Je suis innocent - Adel Abdessemed
Adel Abdessemed Je suis innocent - Adel Abdessemed

Adel Abdessemed Je suis innocent

Adel Abdessemed

This photograph served as the poster image for the large survey of Adel Abdessemed’s work hosted by the Pompidou Centre in Paris in 2012. It shows the artist, in flames, standing in front of the door to his Paris studio. Eyes half closed, Abdessemed crosses his arms on his chest and submits to the flames that rise from the ground up the length of his body—one wave-like flame even licks his face. Titled Je suis innocent (“I am innocent”), the picture immediately startles the beholder: What “innocence” is being in- voked in this strange self-immolation? Abdessemed’s works often involve imagery alluding to recent events, but they also evoke older, indeed archaic figures. In Christian art, flames devour the souls in Purgatory— yet flames cannot destroy our artist, for he is innocent. The ambiguous photo, however, also asserts something quite different: the man in flames has come to spread the fire that is already extending beyond him onto the pavement and into the street. GC

2012 / C-print
238 x 186 cm