Adel Abdessemed
Queen Mary II,
la mère

‘Queen Mary II, la mère’, 2007
Recycled printed metal
170.2 × 439.4 × 81.3 cm

Made from scraps of metal, this model of the famous British ocean liner is subtitled la mère to suggest not just “the mother” but also the word’s homonym in French, la mer (“the sea”). This semantic link is further enriched by notions of the distance and nostalgia of people who had to depart. The metal model is not a full-size replica nor a scale toy, given its considerable size. Its half-way status produces a strange effect: the object is neither a true model nor actual boat and has lost its lavish appearance, recalling the makeshift craft of recent migrants even as it evokes the long civil and military career of the Queen Mary. Three other works are related to this piece, subtitled, respectively, la fille, l’aîné, l’enfant, and le fils (“the daughter, the eldest, the child, and the son”). They are smaller in size and allude, each in its own way, to family ties and to often-difficult breaks in those ties.

Giovanni Careri