Adel Abidin’s projects twist elements of reality, creating poetic shifts in context. So in his universe, a travel agent offers a holiday to Baghdad (Abidin Travels, 2006) the artist pushes a vacuum cleaner across a snowy landscape (Vacuum 2006), some percussionists play with loaves of bread (Bread of Life, 2008), a game of Ping Pong is played on a table which has a female body for a net (Ping Pong 2009).
With his videos and installations he takes an action, symbol or object out of context to create a metaphor for a complex cross-cultural relationship. Coming from his own experience of being at the crossroads between the Arab and Western world, Adel Abidin’s work is often haunted by notions of imprisonment, isolation and repeatedly exile (Cold Interrogation, 2004, Alyaa 2005, Chat Room 2006). Through a universal and profoundly humanist approach, to which he often lends an ironic sense of the absurd, he brings into question the social backgrounds which shape us as well as the concept of cultural alienation.
Born in 1973, Adel Abidin originates from Iraq. He has lived and worked in Helsinki since 2001. After studying at Baghdad’s Academy of Fine Art and afterwards in Helsinki, he has exhibited his work at some of the great international events and institutions. He notably represented Finland at the 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007 and will show his work in the Iraqi pavilion at the 54th event which takes place in 2011. In the last few years, he has directed projects in Finland at the KIASMA (Helsinki), in France at the MAC/VAL (Vitry-sur-Seine), and most recently in the United States in residence at Location One (New York), also for the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Doha in Qatar and even at the Sydney Biennale in Australia.