September 23 – November 11 2012
Opening reception on Saturday, September 22nd at 5pm
The work of Iraqi artist Adel Abidin (born 1973, lives and works in Helsinki) refers directly to the social, cultural and historic context of his origins, but at the same time it features a visual language that is familiar to the Western art aficionado. The scenarios quote everyday settings, but always with a subtle modification; Abidin casts the parts deviating from the norm and adds performative moments or subtexts from other reference systems.
The exhibition features three video installations: Ping Pong (2009) shows an endless ping-pong match on a table where the net of has been replaced by the naked body of a woman. The atmosphere is truly breathless, and the work offers a bizarre picture about emotional blindness, bodily infirmity and subtle violence. The blind actions of profit-oriented individuals who are haunted by constant social envy is key to Consumtion of War (2011). In a performance that is rather ridiculous, two clerks, obviously out of control, duel with fluorescent lights. One light after the other of the lights shatter and the fight ends in complete darkness: the professional world, usually a place for objective and correct behaviour, is thus presented as an arena for childish cockfighting.
The main hall is dedicated to the three channel video installation Three Love Songs (2011). This work shows three acts by three female singers in a stereotypical occidental style. The singers perform in Arabic and thus do not understand what they are singing; they had just been told to phrase a love song. And love songs they perform indeed: step by step the subtitles reveal that the devotedly presented vocals glorify Saddam Hussein, who had once commissioned them.