David Zwirner presents Adel Abdessemed’s (an in your face exhibition I would like to add) called “Le Vase Abominable.” His beautifully created works, saturated in meaning and metaphor, stops time and invites the viewer to become encapsulated by these controversially, historically and politically charged pieces. We strongly recommend you take off a longggg lunch break or cancel those plans with whoever, because it is a MUST see and it will keep you occupied for quite some time. Caution: Le Vase Abominable” ends 30th March –Times a tickin- LITERALLY!!!
Abdessemed subject matter in his pieces are clear references to war and politically charged issues. However, Abdessemed’s adds another dimension creating more interesting works by “transforms well-known materials and imagery into charged artistic declarations…”
Upon entering the main floor, the viewer is confronted immediately by a large ticking time bomb or “La Vase Abominable,” which is a large tall copper vase placed on top of a ticking time bomb. Paralleling the vase, the other room, directly diagonal to the bomb, lay 5 smaller vases placed on top of small military boxes as well as a large charcoal sketch drawing of the throne of Queen Elizabeth II. Abdessemed declares these works to be ambiguous – and it is up to you to decide, but I have a theory…do you care to hear?
The copper pots (for me at least) are reminiscent of Islamic pots that might be used throughout the Middle East, or ancient pottery found in this region. Being that Adel Abdessemed is Algerian, these references are not far fetched. Is it a declaration against the imperialism and interference Middle Eastern countries had endured and are still enduring to this day? To a degree yes, I think so! A key in deciphering this, is the sketch of the Queen’s throne. Why else would these Islamic pots have any relation to the English monarchy?
Upstairs, on the second floor, is quite a horrific site. The viewer is transported to what seems to be a live war scene of Vietnam during the 1970’s. A young, naked, life sized screaming girl is placed in the center of the floor surrounded by dark violent sketches of soldiers in uniform. The juxtaposition of the violent, black sketches and the fragile mammoth ivory sculpture of the young terrified girl blatantly depict the fragility of the situation that ensued during the 1970’s in
Vietnam. Again, I believe here, the artist is attempting to criticize the governments and States that control the people. They say they are looking for the best interest of us (take a look at Bush’s invasion of Iraq to “protect” the United States and the rest of the world from weapons of mass destruction- we all laugh at this statement now, because it is evident there were other motivations OIL- HELLO!!). Are they really looking out for our best interests? Was Vietnam necessary?
Was Iraq necessary? I could go on and on but we’ll leave it here.
An animation also is housed on the Second floor, which is called “State.” It engulfs the viewer in imagery and sound, which is supposed to be a reference to the drawings of Republican prisoner protests in Ireland during the 1970’s. Again, these pieces all tie together as a declaration of the atrocities States and governments can inflict on the people and society.
By looking and referencing the past, Adel is bringing forth an issue that we must all always keep in the back of our minds. Be weary of your governments. To be a better people and society, we must always question that is being done, and by looking at the past we can learn and look to a better future!
Peace Out, K.