ADEL ABDESSEMED EXPOSES HIS 'COUP DE TETE' AT THE GENEVA BIENNALE - CRASH Magazine
ART

ADEL ABDESSEMED EXPOSES HIS ‘COUP DE TETE’ AT THE GENEVA BIENNALE

By Crash

The second edition of the Geneva Biennale welcomes more than thirty large format sculptures to be seen outside in three different locations. Among the pieces, is exposed Coup de Tête, a powerful sculpture made by Adel Abdessemed in 2012 and depicting an event that shook and questioned the world: the infamous head butt given to Materazzi by Zidane during the football World Cup in 2006.
Here, a text by Giovanni Careri to better understand the piece.
“A sudden, unthinkable, unprecedented act: the head butt (coup de tête) given by Zinedine Zidane during football’s World Cup in 2006 was quickly seen around the world, becoming iconic. Abdessemed’s monumental sculpture shows the moment when the French player begins to pull his head back as his Italian opponent gives a shout and falls backward. The two men faced off and clashed like ancient wrestlers—fond enemies in the heat of final contact.
Abdessemed has always acknowledged his fascination with acts that induce loss. Here he has turned it into a paradoxical monument, exalting once again the moment of “losing it”: the abandonment of the rules of the game, Zidane’s loss of self-control, Materazzi’s loss of balance as he falls. In a game where every movement of the body is governed by rules, the sudden appearance of a prohibited move, executed with determination— indeed, with a certain elegance—leaves the viewer speechless. In today’s comfortably insured societies, where every risk is hedged, the appearance of a totally unexpected event has become rare, and the very possibility of such an experience has been channeled, formatted, anesthetized. Coup de tête represents monumental opposition to that anesthesia. The social and political issues it raises are important, yet secondary with respect to the unprecedented physicality of these huge dark wrestlers.
By glorifying a hero’s malicious act, Abdessemed liberates himself in turn from the weight of representation people seek to impose on him, even as he claims for himself a provocative rule-breaker’s wildness, an art of surprise and exertion, of sudden intuition and swiftly executed gestures that hit the beholder like a head butt. The moment of Materazzi’s fall, moreover, can be seen as a startling switch: as in every tragedy, the protagonist is felled by an unpredictable stroke of fate, but here the roles are reversed—it was Zidane who was falling, losing his title of hero.”
The Biennale is held through September 10th. Discover the video below.

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