Adel Abdessemed brings photography and sculpture together in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, a title she borrowed from a key work by Sigmund Freud published in 1920. Most of the photographs were made in the same place: the street outside her Paris studio. Many feature animals, which are now foreign to the urban setting in which she places them and no longer have a relationship to man, who has become unaware and unaccustomed to them. Abdessemed often expresses the tensions arising from those issues and their most common manifestation, the cry, as the starting point and raw material for all creation. Tension and original pain seem to culminate in the work itself, a transcendent, fictionalized form of the pleasure from which the Arles exhibition draws its title that could, like Freud, whom she quotes, lead any observer to think that the search for pleasure—in this case art—might be nothing but the end of pain.
Exhibition curator: Jean Nouvel.