London is an open city and the way we live in this openness sets a model for our contemporary condition: this seems to be the implied meaning of Adel Abdessemed’s Bristow installed on the top deck of the multi-storey car park in Peckham, South East London, home to Bold Tendencies. This pigeon charged with explosives and a blackberry is a symbol for today’s condition, where, amidst the network of communications that make our life possible, there is danger, mobility, and innocence. This is a symbol for contemporary citizenship. The title of this sculpture by celebrated international artist Adel Abdessemed is taken from British cartoonist Frank Dickens’ famous strip which ran for 51 years in The Evening Standard.
A new publication accompanying the sculpture took the very tension of today’s existence in London and in the world, manifested by Adel Abdessemed’s work, as a starting point. Bringing together essays by some of today’s leading London-based scholars, from the Courtauld Institute of Art, the University of Oxford, King’s College and the Victoria & Albert Museum, as well as by the architect Asif Khan, conversations of Adel Abdessemed with an artist, a journalist, a writer, on top of the car park, and poetry edited by Rachael Allen, specially commissioned for this work, with editors and contributors coming from the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, the United States, Germany, Iran, Pakistan, Tanzania, Belgium, it is a map of the serious possibilities a dense artistic gesture in the public space can offer.
This poetry, these essays, these conversations, which tackle themes from English history, the history of art, Biblical readings, the logics of architecture, football, all engage with one main feeling: the extraordinary empowerment of living in an open world – and the fears that come with it.
Contributors: Rachael Allen, Sam Buchan-Watts, Asif Khan, Melissa Lee-Houghton, Kieran Long, Kathryn Maris, Faray Nayeri, Edna O’Brien, Oskar Proctor, Aaron Rosen, Elisa Schaar, Martha Sprackland, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Richard Wentworth & Sarah Wilson.
Edited by Hannah Barry, Donatien Grau, & Hans Ulrich Obrist
Designed by Victoria Bridal
Published by Bold Tendencies, supported by Fluxus Art Projects
212 pages, fully illustrated 225 x 175 mm, ISBN 9-780995-663909