Adel Abidin

Artist Biography

Adel Abidin was born in Baghdad (1973) and currently resides between Helsinki and Amman.

He received a B.A. in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad (2000) and an M.F.A from the Academy of Fine Arts in Time and Space Art in Helsinki (2005).

“My art uses various media such as videos, video installations, multimedia sculptures and sound based installations and photography to explore the issues of the contemporary world that we are living in. My main point of departure is always linked to my intention to explore the complex relationship between visual art and politics & identity. Using a sharp palette of irony and humour I find myself gravitated towards different social situations dealing with elusive experiences and cultural alienation.

I use my cross-cultural background (as an Iraqi artist living between Helsinki and Amman) to create a distinct visual language often laced with sarcasm and paradox, while maintaining an ultimately humanistic approach. This sarcasm I use is nothing but a medium of provocation to serve the purpose of extending the mental borders of the artwork beyond the limits of the exhibition space. I am always interested in creating opportunities to prolong the discussions beyond my artwork by enabling the audience to convey mental elements from the work into their daily life.

Moreover, I always find the words ‘politics’ and ‘identity’ more than a terminology or a path that I travel in, as they unfold to other concepts like discrimination, mass media manipulation etc.” – Adel Abidin

Since his representation of Finland at the Nordic Pavilion in the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), Abidin’s work has been the subject of major exhibitions worldwide including: Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels (2015), 56th Venice Biennale in the Iranian Pavilion (2015), The Glasstress-Gotika, 56th Venice Biennale, International Exhibition, Palazzo Franchetti (2015), 5th Guangzhou Triennial, The Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou (2015), The Pera Museum, Istanbul (2015), Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada (2015), Gwangju Museum of Art, South Korea (2014), The Jerusalem Show VII, Jerusalem (2014), Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2014), MACRO-Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2014), Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan (2013-2012), 54th Venice Biennale, Iraq Pavilion (2011), 10th Sharjah Biennale, UAE (2011), MOCCA, Toronto (2011), Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar (2010), 17th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2010), MAP, Mobile Art Production, Stockholm, Sweden (2009), 11th Cairo Biennial, Cairo (2008), Screening at MoMA, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2008), Art Paris, Grand Palais, Paris (2008), Espace Galley of Contemporary Art, Louis Vuitton, Paris (2008), The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St. Louis, USA (2008) and The 4th Gothenburg Biennale, Sweden (2007).

He has been represented in galleries including: Hauser & Wirth Gallery, London (2013), with his well-recognized three channel video installation “Three Love Songs”, Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai (2013), with his suspended light based installation “Al-Warqaa” (Chosen as the image of the rising Arab art scene in Dubai by the New York Times), Anne De Villepoix Gallery, Paris (2011), with his six channel video installation “Their Dreams” and Zilberman Gallery, Istanbul (2011), with his well received video installation “Ping-Pong”.

Abidin’s work continues to be well represented in both Private and public collections including those of the KIASMA Musuem of Contemporary Art, The National Gallery, Helsinki: The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia: The Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE: Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar: EMMA- Espoo Museum of Modern Art, Espoo, Finland: Nadour Private Collection: Kamel Lazaar Collection: The Barjeel Art Foundation, UAE: The Heino Art Foundation, Helsinki: Darat al Funun – The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman: HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, UAE: KOC foundation.

Abidin has been selected for the Finland Prize for Arts in 2015, Received a Five Years Grant from The Art Council of Finland (2012-2017) and in 2011 He was a nominee for the Ars Fennica Prize in Finland.
In (2015) the Artist has taught, gave talks and panel discus- sions, at various venues including the UNESCO- Improving Artistic Freedom In a Digital Age, Helsinki (2016), the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki: Lasalle College of the Arts: TAIK Alto University, Helsinki (2014), The Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver (2013), The Mosaic Rooms, Global Futures Forum, London (2013), Darat al Funun – The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman (2011), OSU – Oregon State University, USA (2010). Location One Gallery, New York (2010), The Academy of Arts, Baghdad (2001).

Abidin has been a Subject in Art documentary about his art Practice in many Tv channels including BBC- culture channel, England (2011) and ARTE- cultural channel, France (2008). also his work was mentioned in major newspapers and magazines around the world including (The NewYork Times 2011 & 2013), Le Monde, Le Figaro, the National in Dubai, Helsingin Sanomat, the Wallpaper magazine, The Wall Street Journal,  Canvas Art Magazine, Art Forum, Art in America, Avek Media Art Magazine, Taide Lehti, ArtAsiaPacific…Etc

Adel Abidin is represented by Galerie Tanit Beirut.

Website

Exhibitions
Featured
I Am One Acquainted With The Night
Collective Exhibition

From June 5, 2021 to September 25, 2021

Featured
Ya! | يا
Adel Abidin

From January 22, 2019 to March 20, 2019

Featured
From Sound to Silence
Collective Exhibition

From June 7, 2017 to August 5, 2017

Featured
… كان يا مكان
Collective Exhibition

From February 16, 2022 to April 16, 2022

Selected Works
Politically Correct

Politically Correct questions both political and correctness. It presents political correctness in fragile form, that suggests the term political correctness can bend and even twist; it can be spelled and understood wrong. It may not be such a superpower, as it seems at first sight. And yet, we take it as a tool to manage minds and good behaviour.

We Came to Kill Your Father

The neon text sculpture, was inspired by a real story of a young girl who during the Finnish civil war opened the door to a group of men who were knocking on her home’s front door. They simply told upon opening the door: “we came to kill your father.” – a long suppressed and painful memory that took decades for her to finally share.

As the history repeats itself, the doors are keep being knocked and the same sentence is being spoken.

Politically Correct
Adel Abidin
Politically Correct
Coated stainless steel sculptures, Edition 1 of 3
2018
250 cm x 325 cm

Politically Correct questions both political and correctness. It presents political correctness in fragile form, that suggests the term political correctness can bend and even twist; it can be spelled and understood wrong. It may not be such a superpower, as it seems at first sight. And yet, we take it as a tool to manage minds and good behaviour.

We Came to Kill Your Father
Adel Abidin
We Came to Kill Your Father
Neon Installation
2018
17 cm x 400 cm, Photo Credit Elie Bekhazi

The neon text sculpture, was inspired by a real story of a young girl who during the Finnish civil war opened the door to a group of men who were knocking on her home’s front door. They simply told upon opening the door: “we came to kill your father.” – a long suppressed and painful memory that took decades for her to finally share.

As the history repeats itself, the doors are keep being knocked and the same sentence is being spoken.