Adel Abdessemed

‘Citizen’, 2015
Graphite on china
140 × 68 × 64 cm (with base)

This group of ceramic characters reproduces a photo showing a soldier playing soccer with a child. The soldier is in full uniform and is holding a machine-gun, like one of the drawings in the Soldaten series. Between the soldier and the child wearing slippers is a soccer ball. The scene embodies a certain ambivalence in the simultaneous representation of war and play, between the power to exert deadly violence and the desire to play soccer in the street. The positions of the bodies reinforce this ambiguity—both are bent over the ball, legs and feet ready to kick, the two bodies frozen in almost the same pose. The soldier thus becomes a mirror-image of the child and vice versa. The group deliberately merges the different ages of man and gives form to the relationship between childhood potential and adult reality. The soldier’s clearly overburdened body confronts its primal frailty, lightness, and agility. Yet the work offers no clear semantic interpretation of this confrontation, existing instead as a catalyst of multiple semantic and emotional possibilities.

Angela Megoni