Adel Abidin: History Wipes

Adel Abidin: History Wipes, 2018 (detail). Image: Adel Abidin

History Wipes will present video installations and sculptures by the contemporary artist Adel Abidin (born 1973, Baghdad, Iraq), many of which will be completed especially for the exhibition. The works by the internationally recognised artist deal with the painful aspects of our history and human existence in an increasingly unstable world.

 

Adel Abidin. Photo: Martin Jäger

Adel Abidin. Photo: Martin Jäger

History Wipes challenges us to look at what is happening around us right now – and what has happened over the previous decades and centuries. The exhibition deals with uncomfortable issues that we prefer to shut out from our minds. The subjects include ethnic cleansing, war, refugees, and manipulation exercised by the machinery of power. The artist is interested in what is being wiped from sight: what we seek to blot out and what we keep quiet about.

The works will be on display in different parts of the museum, including the main staircase and the exhibition galleries on the second and third floors. Many of the new works in the exhibition have emerged in interaction with the museum’s architecture. The Ateneum is one of the key memory institutions in Finland, and it has shaped the image of Finnishness and country’s common history ever since 1888. Issues related to identity and memory are also central in Adel Abidin’s art.

The exhibition produced by the Ateneum is curated by the director of the Ateneum Art Museum, Susanna Pettersson, Ph.D., and the chief curator Sointu Fritze. Concurrently with Abidin’s exhibition, the Stories of Finnish Art exhibition will feature a selection of works by Henry Ericsson (1898–1933) that deal with the Finnish Civil War, curated by the special researcher Erkki Anttonen.

Adel Abidin lives and works in both Helsinki and Amman, Jordan. Abidin’s work is characterised by a strong social ethos. Through his art, he deals with difficult topics, often using light humour and sarcasm. However, in the end, his works come across as profound, serious and even gloomy.

The Promotion Centre for Audiovisual Culture (AVEK) has supported the exhibition.

Read more from the press release

The artist’s website

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