Adel Abdessemed

‘Otchi Tchiornie’, 2017
burnt limewood
280 × 225 × 792 cm

These 27 charred wooden effigies represent the Red Army Chorus, all of whom were killed in a plane crash on Christmas Day in 2016 on their way to support Russian troops in Syria. Otchi Tchiornie is an emblematic sculpture in the oeuvre of Adel Abdessemed, whose work often springs from the feeling of shock when faced with jarring, violent images in the media. The title of the work translates as ‘Dark Eyes’, the name of a folk song taken from the Chorus’ repertoire. It evokes an essentially Russian sentiment of nostalgia, while literally referring to the darkness of the charcoal from which the figures are made.