Adel Abdessemed
Telle mère
tel fils

‘Telle mère tel fils’, 2008
Airplanes, felt, and aluminium
400 × 2700 × 500 cm

Telle mère tel fils (“like mother like son”) weaves together the bodies of three airplanes whose original cockpits and tails have been retained, whereas the fuselages have been replaced by air-inflated felt. This knot of planes represents an unprecedented marriage between mechanical objects and the artist’s technique of folding, which he claims is a transposition of his mother’s art of folding thin sheets of pastry to make a dish called bourek. The title reverses the saying that sons resemble fathers, and the same principle of reversal recurs in the head-to-tail weave of the planes. In an approach to folding that links it to Baroque sculpture, this work manipulates elements that comprise the material reality of an airplane, yet also evokes fantasies of flight and freedom, rejecting the trajectory implied by the aerodynamic shape of the machines themselves. Completely grounded, transformed into large, intertwining snakes, these three airplanes appear strangely alive.

Giovanni Careri