Practice Zero Tolerance - Adel Abdessemed
Practice Zero Tolerance - Adel Abdessemed
Practice Zero Tolerance - Adel Abdessemed
Practice Zero Tolerance - Adel Abdessemed
Practice Zero Tolerance - Adel Abdessemed
Practice Zero Tolerance - Adel Abdessemed
Practice Zero Tolerance - Adel Abdessemed
Practice Zero Tolerance - Adel Abdessemed

Practice Zero Tolerance

Adel Abdessemed

The terracotta sculptures of Practice Zero Tolerance, done between 2006 and 2008, were directly linked to reports of the riots that hit the ghetto suburbs of Paris in 2005 following the death of a boy who was electro- cuted while trying to flee the police. Abdessemed’s reproductions of cars that were subsequently torched in revenge brought an instantly recognizable icon of a complex social event into the gallery space. They sharp- ly questioned public policies of “zero tolerance,” the stark and troubling phrase heard by the artist when he turned on his television.
These cars swiftly became symbolic icons of a rage that the media often described as inexplicable. Here the media icon is treated through the techniques of traditional pottery with all their material and temporal density. The gutted car was cast in clay, then fired in a kiln until the cast was burnt and blackened. The act of burning was thus employed in a pro- cess not of destruction but of creation—the artistic creativity of casting, the creativity of the human act of crafting something (via the handprints left in the mold). The resulting object is simultaneously an overturned car that alludes to a scene of collective memory, a layered, complex memory that demands a labor of exploration and elaboration on the part of the be- holder. The act of rebellion directed toward cars as a status symbol—their make and models remaining fully recognizable here—is thus staged in a gesture that simultaneously restores and overturns, as suggested by the title given to a cast of a BMW, Practice Zero Tolerance (retournée), i.e. “overturned.” AM

2006 / Terracotta
120 x 365 x 165 cm

• Frac Île-de-France / Le Plateau, Paris 2006
• Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris 2012