Adel Abidin: Memorial

Three channel Video Installation

Memorial is based on a real event that I witnessed when I was 17-years-old on the third day of the bombardment of Baghdad in 1991. On that day I heard that American air forces had bombed the Al-Jumhuriyya Bridge, one of my favourite bridges in the city. The bridge – located in the heart of downtown Baghdad – is the most important and frequently used bridge that connects the two banks of the Tigris River.

Devastated and in shock, I did not know how to react. The next day, I cycled downtown, to see if it was true. As I approached the bridge, which had been broken off completely in two places, I saw a strange scene: a dead cow on one piece of the fallen bridge. I pushed aside my sorrow for the bridge as the unexpected image occupied my mind, as it was unusual to see a cow in central Baghdad. I started imagining different scenarios about the death of this poor cow. Why was she there in the first place? Where had she come from? Why was she alone? Lately, I have been consumed with thoughts on our human need to gather, to feel connected and be assured that we are not alone. I remember that cow, a social animal falling to her death alone. And after nearly 20 years, I envision the circumstances of the horrible ending, as she jumps in vain trying to reach the other side. This installation is a memorial to her.

This work was shown at: KIASMA- Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2010), Centre for Contemporary Arts Celje, Continuity, Slovenija (2011), Biennale of Contemporary Art, D-0 ARK Underground, Konjic, Bosnia (2013).

Coming up: One Architecture Week, Plovdiv (2015)


Duration: 00’02’56 min. (Loop)