Adel Abdessemed

‘Nymphéas’, 2015
61 groupings of knives
dimensions vary

Clusters of large knives of varying sizes used in rural North Africa are planted in the floor of the gallery, appearing like so many tropical plantstiny palm trees or cacti. The stylization of violence and its reduction to ornament is all the more exemplary here insofar as the components of each piece come from the peaceful world of agriculture. These works might be perceived as an image of aggression against the earth, but could also be interpreted as trenchant examples of an idea that stresses a point, namely the obstinacy and accuracy required of any artistic act. Abdessemed redeployed the knives of the original work, Axe on (2007), into the rectangular pattern of an Islamic prayer rug for East of Eden (2013) and then into clusters of water lilies for Nymphéas, borrowing Monet’s title for the version exhibited at the Arsenale during the Venice Biennale in 2015.

Giovanni Careri