Adel Abdessemed
La naissance de

‘La naissance de MohammedKarlpolpot’, 1999
ink on paper
8.5 × 29 cm

The title was scribbled on paper with a black ballpoint pen. The date above it marks the day Abdessemed became a French citizen in Paris: October 20, 1999. MohammedKarlpolpot is a chimerical name that conflates three highly loaded ones: the prophet Mohammed, the philosopher Karl Marx, and the Cambodian dictator Pol Pot.

Breaking the rule of the uniqueness of a given name, this incongruous fusion of three different, incommensurable entities suggests unexpected links between the realms of religion, ideology, and genocidal violence.

Autobiographical in nature, the simplicity of La Naissance de MohammedKarlpolpot (“the birth of MohammedKarlpolpot”) makes it a political work that traces the borders of the realms in which Abdessemed operates.

Giovani Careri