All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf

New works from Adel Abdessemed feature scorched fur and razorwire crucifixions

by James Thorne
on 17 February 2012
Adel_Wolf6.jpg

A collection of new works opens today at the David Zwirner Gallery in New York City, showcasing the creative talents of Adel Abdessemed. The Algerian-born artist tackles a range of materials and mediums in a collection focusing on themes of violence, war and spectatorship. The namesake piece "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" is built to the dimensions of Picasso's "Guernica," and is made from a mass of taxidermic animals. Abdessemed has scorched the fur to achieve a blackened effect, a process that actually fills gallery space with a distinct sulfuric smell.

Adel_Wolf1a.jpg Adel_Wolf1b.jpg

The stunning series "Décor" is inspired by the crucified figure from Matthias Grünewald's 16th-century Isenheim Altarpiece. The violent expression is achieved through the manipulation and welding of razor wire, which also yields a rainbow discoloration from the heating process. Floating alone without the support of a cross, the three figures are built to anatomical scale.

Adel_Wolf3.jpg

"Hope" takes a marooned boat from the Gulf Coast and transplants it into the gallery space. The cavity has been filled with sculptural objects that resemble garbage bags, representing both the people and the possessions that have been transported across the waters. Abdessemed's experience immigrating to France informs his focus on the immigrant experience and the risks that migrant peoples undertake.

Adel_Wolf4.jpg

The resin sculpture "Coup de tête" channels a historic moment of broadcast violence as French footballer Zinedine Zidane headbutts Italy's Marco Materazzi. "L'avenir c'est aux fantômes" ("The Future Belongs to Ghosts") is a reference to Derrida's concept of phenomena, the title pulled from the philosopher's own writing. The gorgeous hand-blown sculptures are raised well above eye-level, heightening their spectral appearance as they are framed against the gallery's skylights.

Adel_Wolf2.jpg

Also on display is a collection of crude sketches of animals bearing dynamite, which intentionally resemble cave drawings. A looped video shows a baboon spelling out in magnetic letters the words "Hutu" and "Tutsi." This is a reference to the two conflicting factions of the Rwandan genocide, and continues Abdessemed's recurring theme of violence. "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" marks the build-up to Abdessemed's major upcoming exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, which opens October 2012.

See more images of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" in our slideshow of the exhibitition.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community
Loading More...