Adel Abdessemed

Cheval de Turin


White painted aluminium, leather
160 x 50 x 230cm.

Adel Abdessemed has transformed the photograph of a kicking mule taken in Paris in 2007 (Jump and Jolt) into a white aluminium sculpture. The title refers to Nietzsche’s distress and malaise on seeing a horse mistreated in the streets of Turin—the incident is thought to have triggered his irreversible mental illness. Here, however, the horse does not meekly submit but rebels against an invisible enemy (as does the mule in the 2007 photo). Perhaps it hopes to recover its freedom.

This sculpture offers the striking image of a sudden, unusual gesture which, at first sight, is incongruous with the morphology of the four-footed animal. It seems to defy the laws of gravity, thereby incarnating Abdessemed’s artistic approach: rebellious, energetic, and dangerously off-balance.

“I didn’t want it to be a horse that was just suffering the blows of the whip. I wanted a horse that reacts. I wanted to show the difference between aggression and violence; violence as a positive energy and aggressiveness as negative energy. And impulse. The impulse of the kick hoof, a symbol of counter attack.”