The emotional and visual impact of Adel Abdessemed’s work stems from its muted violence and its potent capacity for salutary expression, transgression and derision. In the eleven photographs and two videos on show here, Abdessemed reinvents the world and its animal violence. Showing exotic beasts in urban settings, posing in the arms of a statue of Abraham Lincoln in a New York street, or disguising himself as a gorilla so as to slip a wedding ring onto the finger of a pretty bride, the artist blurs the boundaries between art and private life, between self-representation and animality – and situates himself in that uncertain zone where our reality as human beings is far more complex than that of the civilised facade we offer to the gaze of our contemporaries and neighbours. In the two short films we see a foot angrily crushing a Coca-Cola can and a microphone. " Foot On" and "Talk is Cheap" are at once meaningful and highly ambiguous: comprising two rapid shots, they have a hypnotic, repetitive side that lays bare vertiginous horizons in the most secret fault-lines of our minds.
From 16 September 2009
We are living in the society of the spectacle. In spite of its alienating effects on our life and social relationships, it’s one of the very fundamental conditions of our existence. We perceive the world and communicate with each other through the spectacle – a system of image production and representation dominated by the logic of market capitalism which tends to “develop” our faculties of perception, imagination and reflection towards a “one dimensional model” formatted by the language of consumerist ideology. This is also the very contemporary condition of our self-identification and social order “guaranteed” by the established power system. As a main typology of artistic and cultural events of our time, biennials of contemporary art are no doubt an ultimate form of expression of such a tendency...
The first three Lyon Biennials - in 1991, 1993 and 1995 – were part of a largely historical perspective, from which problematics, stakes and themes were derived. The first one, called “The love of art”, chose to assess the situation of creation in France. Resolutely going against the trend, this biennial noted that since the so-called “Pompidou exhibition” (Paris 1969), no such far-reaching project had been imagined in France.
The European Biennial Network is a collaborative structure that aims to promote dialogue, interaction and collaboration between contemporary art biennials in Europe.
For more information : www.europeanbiennialnetwork.org
The Biennale of Lyon is a Les Biennales de Lyon event