Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Finland,
13 Apr 2010
Artist : Abel Abidin
Title : To Mohammed! To Mecca!
Date(s) : 2009
Material : Neon sign
Credit : Photo: Finnish National Gallery / Central Art Archives, Petri Virtanen
From the Kiasma website
The Iraqi-Finnish artist Adel Abidin is a rising star in international contemporary art. His first major solo exhibition, held now in Kiasma, presents the artist’s recent work, most of which consists of video installations.
The works encourage us to reflect on culture, both our own and other people’s. In his art, Abidin focuses particularly on "themes such as cultural alienation and marginalization". The works address issues such as experiences of exclusion, gender roles and sexuality, and also life, death and the insanity of war. Central to all of Abidin's works is his use of black humour and irony.
One of the works is a large neon sign derived from the Coca-Cola logo, which Abidin presents in a mirror image. It is a reference to a rumour that made the rounds some time ago at certain Islamic websites, according to which the sign says, in Arabic, No Mohammed, No Mecca. But the artist gives the mirror image another interpretation. According to him it says To Mohammed, To Mecca. The story behind the work is an urban legend from the Arab world, which has been discredited both by the Coca-Cola Company and authorities in the Muslim world.
Waseem Ahmed, Silver Bullet, Laurant
Delaye, London Bani
Abidi, Karachi, Green Cardamom, London, UK