'21st Century: Art in the First Decade' is an exhibition, publication, blog and series of public programs at the Queensland Art Gallery l Gallery of Modern Art that explore the art of the past ten years. As an expanded platform for the exhibition, the '21st Century Blog' functions as a source book of reference material and contributions provided by artists, curators and writers. Read more



Adel Abdessemed | Head on 2007–08 | White neon | 300 x 249.9cm | Collection: The artist Courtesy: David Zwirner, New York | Installation view: Biennale de Lyon 2009

Adel Abdessemed ‘Head on’ 2007–08

An Algerian artist of Berber origin, Adel Abdessemed is known for his unexpected and sometimes controversial art practice. His works consider a wide range of personal and political themes often addressing social taboos and presenting them as raw and uncomfortable truths. Abdessemed is also known for works that reflect on the beauty and fragility of life and his visual language is at once poetic and provocative.

Head on 2007–08 is a large-scale neon work based on a freehand drawing of a brain. The crudely drawn mess of lines, transferred into thin white neon tubes, intersect and overlap, communicating the visually complex pattern of the cerebral cortex. The work playfully alludes to the representation of thought as switching on a light bulb while also suggesting enlightenment and consciousness. At a time when neurologists are making groundbreaking discoveries by manipulating brain chemistry, Abdessemed presents the brain as an abstract, aesthetic form.

Categories: Artist

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