Adel Abdessemed

‘Personne’, 2014,
Camel bones, dog claws
56 × 105 × 30 cm

A white dog made of camel bones—except for its black claws, which Abdessemed wanted to retain—carries a man’s amputated hand in its mouth. This work echoes a poem by the Yiddish-language poet Avrom Sutzkever (1913–2010), which tells of finding a severed hand in a tomato patch one September morning in 1941. The hand belonged to Personne (“no one”)—said the poet—so he claimed it as his own. The hand becomes the author of his poetry, the repository of his mother tongue, threatened by Nazism and subsequent postwar developments.

Giovanni Careri