Lot 55
  • 55

Adel Abdessemed

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
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  • Adel Abdessemed
  • Klan
  • signed, titled and dated 2007 on the interior of the largest plane nose
  • felt, aluminium and fiberglass plane noses, in ten parts
  • dimensions variable
  • This work is unique.


Galerie Kamel Mennour, Paris

Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2007


Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, 2007



Colour: The colour in the catalogue illustration is fairly accurate, although the overall tonality is slightly deeper and richer in the original. Condition: This work is in very good and original condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Executed in 2007, Klan is a brilliant example of Adel Abdessemed’s utterly unique artistic language and is considered one of his most notable works. Wittily subversive in its appropriation of complex historical connotations, combined with a thoroughly twenty-first century aesthetic, Klan instantly connects with the viewer on numerous levels. Ten cones of varying sizes – each adapted from the nose of a plane – cluster in a group formation on the ground, each piece personified via the application of circular black ‘eyeholes’ to their centre. This subtle humanisation of an inanimate object renders each piece of fiberglass and metal inherently captivating and actively encourages engagement with the viewer. Yet there are also sinister undertones at play; the loosely daubed eyeholes against the gleaming white backgrounds are eerily reminiscent of the masks historically worn by members of the Klu Klux Klan. A White Supremacist group originally founded in 1865 following the American Civil War, members of the first KKK waged a horrific campaign of violence and terror, primarily against newly freed black slaves. In the present work, Abdessemed emphasises this connection through the use of the word ‘Klan’ for the title, a pointed reminder of shocking persecution. Yet in the present work, the Klan members have been reduced to objects of derision and mockery; placed on the floor and eternally immobilised, the viewer is able to look down upon the remnants of the group. This sense of ridicule is compounded through the creative manipulation of an unusual medium.

Ultimately we can choose to view Klan as a celebration of the artistic potential of a mechanical, man-made object – a dazzlingly conceived work of art to be enjoyed on a purely aesthetic level – as well as a symbolic mockery of the KKK and its aims. Despite the complex associations inherent within Klan, the work arguably succeeds in projecting an aura of merriment and light-heartedness, an idea reinforced by Ziba Ardalan in the wider context of Abdessemed’s career: “[An] element in Abdessemed’s work is its often hidden positivism and playfulness. Indeed in much of his work light does not arrive only at the end of a tunnel, but time and again it is simply there” (Ziba Ardalan,’Beauty in Truth’ in: Exhibition Catalogue, London, Parasol Unit, Adel Abdessemed: Silent Warriors, 2010, p. 45).

Ascending to international acclaim in recent years, Abdessemed has exhibited extensively on the international stage, with major solo shows in Doha, London, and San Francisco amongst others, as well as being selected to exhibit at 52nd Venice Biennale in 2007. Throughout his distinguished career, Abdessemed has continually re-invented the potential of the media in which he chooses to work, forming an eclectic corpus that stands as a testament to his triumphal embrace of universal themes. Klan perfectly represents a myriad of concerns whilst reflecting Abedessemed’s interest in the possibility of the Duchampian 'found object’. In Abedessemed’s skillful hands, nose cones are elevated from purely functional objects to a level of conceptual and artistic ingenuity. Fusing elements of history with contemporary concerns and methods, Klan deserves to be recognised for its key importance within Abedessemed’s extraordinary body of works.