Solo exhibition of Adel Abdessemed postponed

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Bring me home, please

I'm sad to read that the The Fondazione Sandretto Rebaudengo which remarkable programme of exhibitions i've regularly covered in these pages has had to postpone the opening of Le Ali di Dio (The Wings of God), the first Italian exhibition dedicated to Adel Abdessemed.

Still from the video Don't Trust Me

Pressures and complaints about the video installation entitled Don't Trust Me, which documents the practices of butchers in the Mexican countryside, prevented the art space to open the exhibition according to the original plans.

Six television screens show video images of six tethered animals - a sheep, a pig, an ox, a horse, a goat and a doe - being killed by workers with a sledgehammer. When the show opened at a San Francisco gallery last year it was shut down within four days after Abdessemed and gallery staff received death threats from activists describing the installation as ''animal snuff videos''. These videos were shot in a Mexican slaughterhouse where animals are raised in order to be turned to meat and eaten.

Art curator Francesco Bonami reacted: "Contemporary art that talks about violence doesn't impose violence upon us but asks anyone who has decided to cross the threshold of the exhibition space to reflect on violence and its various nuances, from the ones of the animal world to the ones of human beings. The art of Algerian artist of Berber origin Adel Abdessemed does not try to provoke, it simply talks about responsibility and violence of life.'

The images of the videos are taken out of context and that's probably and very understandably what disturbs protesters but i believe that The Fondazione Rebaudengo would have shown the videos in the most delicate and informed way. I'm quite sure i would not have the guts to watch the videos (i can't even stand the sigh of a piece of meat in my bf's plate) but it pains me to see that an artist is being censored for documenting an action that takes place almost all over the world every single day so that people can enjoy their burger, their 'prosciutto crudo' or their 'albese'....

Adel Abdessemed, Abibi. Image

Adel Abdessemed - The Wings of God was due to run at the FSRR from Wednesday until May 18.

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Dan L

Strange that animalists would object so much.
I've seen some of the films they show,
of dead pigs tumbling in banks of giant rollers,
being de-bristled.

Perhaps they are bedeviled by imaginary industrial
carnivores who would attend this exhibition to
enjoy the display of cruelty.

Perhaps they have demonized their "opponents" too much.

This is like a negative situation all around.


you're both right. i always find it hard to believe how hypocrite we are. for example, most people do not have the same compassion for all animals: slaughtering pigs to make ham sandwiches is good, cooking dog is barbaric, eating cats in europe is ok if there is war. besides, as Dan pointed this is the same iconography used by animal rights activists.


Isn't it possible that these threats are actually being done by anti-animal rights lobbyists, to discredit the artist's and the activists' position?


the situation in italy is very delicate because of the power of the church. spirits are very sensitive
last summer a crucified frog was regarded as blasphemy by the pope and the story ended quite badly for the director of the museum


when activism gives way to extremism, rational and creative thought gives way to reactivity, anger and suspicion. those taken in all to often see friend as foe.


they should have the show. open the door. the idiots usually expose themselves first.


I agree with regine. I've had to see worst videos as I wait for the elevator in my school while carrying my lunch. Animal rights activists have done this many times in my school now. Hey at least in this gallery you have the choice to not go.


i have to do an assignment on animal cruelty and am going to mention adel's vidoes however, i have visited many sites and have noticed that people are very affected by things that go on that they dont know about. like the way the animals are killed. i beleive that people expect their meals to be killed in a just manner.


Hi Elle,
i'm quite shocked by how naive some people are. i'm not sure they would be able to tell you what is the "just manner' to kill an animal. they'd rather not think about it. the other interesting element is that most people have established a hierarchy of animals worth killing: they believe that it's ok to kill a pig because pigs are stupid but not ok to kill a dog for eating because dogs are smart. it's ok to kill a cow, they are ugly but not ok to kill a horse. in fact, pigs are quite smart and can become lovely pets. cows, i believe, are beautiful (they have gorgeous eyes). altogether a sad business

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