b.1971, Constantine, Algeria

Adel Abdessemed grew up in the area of the Aurès Mountains in Algeria, and attended the École régionale des beaux-arts in Batna. He then studied at the École supérieure des beaux-arts in Algiers and left in 1994. Between 1994 and 1998, Abdessemed attended the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Lyon, in eastern central France. He then lived and worked in the Cité internationale des arts in Paris. In 2000 - 2001 he was a resident artist at P.S.1 in New York. After spending some time in Berlin, he returned in 2004 to Paris. He is also a French citizen.

Adel Abdessemed is a prominent figure in the international art scene. From drawing to video, from sculpture to installation, Adel probes in the wounds of our present. His work has been the subject, during the last thirty years, of numerous major solo exhibitions, at MoMA PS1 in New York, MIT List Art Center in Cambridge (Massachusetts), Magasin - Centre National d’Art Contemporain in Grenoble, at Parasol Unit in London, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Musée national d’Art Moderne - Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris for a retrospective, « Adel Abdessemed. Je suis Innocent » (2012), CAC in Málaga, or at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal. Two major monographic exhibitions take place in 2018: Otchi Tchiornie at the Musée du Grand-Hornu in Belgium, and L’Antidote at the MAC Lyon.

Adel Abdessemed had his first solo exhibition “Unlock” in Asia in 2019, presented by Tang Contemporary Art Hong Kong. His work has also been presented at four Venice Biennales (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015), where he received the Benesse Prize (2007), at two Biennales in Istanbul (2007, 2017), and in the Biennales of Havana (2009), Gwangju (2008), Lyon (2007), and São Paulo (2006). In 2010, he participated in the first Triennale in Aichi, in 2017 at the Triennale of Milan, and at the Triennale Oku- Noto in Suzu (Japan). In 2018 he participated at the Triennale Echigo-Tsumari Art. In the same year, he also took part in the Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles, where he exhibited a series of photographs and sculptures curated by Jean Nouvel. In 2015 he directed the scenography and light of Retour à Berratham, during the Avignon Festival, for the choreographer Angelin Preljocaj. In 2016, he was invited to draw the poster for the Avignon Festival and to create his project « Surfaces ». At the same time, the organization Bold Tendencies commissioned the work Bristow as part of its artistic program in Peckham (London).


The New York Times | Adel Abdessemed: Tackling Themes of Everyday Cruelty and Extremism

“Diptyque” is characteristic of the work of Mr. Abdessemed, a French-Algerian artist whose art often blends beauty and brutality, and who recently opened an exhibition inside the 17th-century chateau in southern France that once housed the museum. The show was designed by Jean Nouvel, the Pritzker prize-winning architect.


As an artist, I am a witness to my time. For me, the inevitable intimate aspect of our experience is always faced with the barrage of everyday events, the barrage of the world or of images, these intensely aggressive things that we receive every day.