Adel Abdessemed
Pluie noire

‘Pluie noire’, 2006,
Belgium black marble, 51 elements
dimensions vary

Black marble sculptures reproducing drill bits of varying shapes and sizes are placed vertically and directly on the floor. Small items used in everyday “work”—whose form and function are perfectly recognizable—thus assume the status of sculptural objects through their change in scale and material. Here we go from the horizontal plane typical of the way an electric drill is used in the home to a verticality that evokes objects of physical or metaphysical receptivity, such as antennae, detectors, and totems. These outsized bits—the tallest being some two meters high—come across as troubling totem-monuments.

The quality of the marble and the semantic implications of these shafts create juxtapositions that challenge any univocal interpretation. The drilling function of bits, like the downward fall typical of rain (pluie), is reversed in an upward thrust; meanwhile, the drilling action of the bits is magnified by the sharp curves and points of black marble, so that the beauty of the polished stone retains overtones of violence and aggression.

Several worlds—several ideas—thus merge in these works, none of them resolving the ambivalence that nourishes them: attraction versus danger, beauty versus violence, sculpture versus everyday object. All remain tightly linked, as physically experienced by the beholder.

Angela Megoni