Adel Abdessemed

‘Die Taubenpost’, 2021
Military green painted aluminum
260 x 590 x 290 cm (approx)

Adel Abdessemed’s new work Die Taubenpost, («The carrier pigeon,» also the title of Franz Schubert’s last lied) at Passage de Retz, at the invitation of Jacqueline Frydman, is a monumental manifesto, at the crossroads of the banality of everyday life and the violence boiling at its surface.

This gigantic zoomorphic apparition in aluminum is part of an animal lineage that the artist has been exploring for many years. Here, the figure of the pigeon, overhanging the ground of its two meters of height, proposes a reading against feet of its original evocation. The bird, ancient factor of news, carries today, immobile, an explosive charge on its back. For Abdessemed, the presence of violence has become as familiar as that of pigeons, the military and police presence as numerous as the latter.

By mixing ordinary creatures with the emblem of terrorism, Abdessemed captures the culture of fear, distilling a threat that boils to the surface of everyday life while preserving a peaceful air. In doing so, the artist demonstrates his deft mastery of the art of interruption and his unique ability to summon the seemingly discordant elements of tenderness and shock. Faced with a landscape saturated with violence and its representations, Abdessemed delivers the blow necessary to stop our desensitization.

Simultaneously animal of war and indolent occupant of our public places, the bird is a recurring figure in the work of Adel Abdessemed. The figure of the exploding pigeon first appeared in London, where it was designed specifically for a public space in 2016, where it is similar to its fellow birds.

Abdessemed creates works that transcend the media anesthesia of contemporary life. Emanuele Coccia, in an essay on the artist, describes Abdessemed’s work as both «a manifesto and a new treatise on aesthetics:» «Every time we produce words, we ourselves, our listeners, and language itself turn into a fuse ready to explode.»