Lida Abdul

Lida Abdul, Afghanistan


Born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1973, and resides there now. Abdul lived in Germany and India as a refugee after being forced to leave Afghanistan after the former-Soviet invasion. Her work fuses the tropes of Western formalism with the numerous aesthetic traditions–Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, pagan and nomadic–that collectively influenced Afghan art and culture. She has produced work in many media, including video, film, photography, installation and live performance. Her most recent work has been featured at the Venice Biennale 2005, Istanbul Modern, Kunsthalle Vienna, Museum of Modern Art Arnhem, Netherlands and Miami Central. She has also exhibited in festivals in Mexico, Spain, Germany, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan; she was also a featured artist at the Central Asian Biennial 2004. For the past few years, Abdul has been working in different parts of Afghanistan on projects exploring the relationship between architecture and identity.

With Public Delivery Video festival Fairy Tales, 2015

Fairy Tales - Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art
Fairy Tales was a video art festival at the Plaza of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan.

Lida Abdul, Afghanistan
Said Atabekov, Kazakhstan
Mohamed Bourouissa, Algeria
Chen Chieh-Jen, Taiwan
Cao Fei, China
Yang Fudong, China
Cyprien Gaillard, France
Dejan Kaludjerović, Yugoslavia
Mari Kim, South Korea
Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Thailand
Taus Makhacheva, Russia
Almagul Menlibayeva, Kazakhstan
Mariko Mori, Japan
Ahmet Ögüt, Turkey
Adrian Paci, Italy
Public Delivery, South Korea
Wang Qingsong, China
Walid Raad, Lebanon
Cheng Ran, China & Item Idem, France
Taps & Moses, Germany
Guido van der Werve, Netherlands
Erwin Wurm, Austria
Miao Xiaochun, China



Lida Abdul - Brick Sellers of Kabul
Lida Abdul – Brick Sellers of Kabul, 2006
16mm film transferred to dvd
Courtesy Giorgio Persano, Torino

Exhibited: Brick sellers of Kabul, 2006

For Lida Abdul, the most difficult thing is to move beyond the memory of an event. Ruins carry the memory of something lost and act as a reminder of what used to be. In this video, children are lining up to sell bricks taken from a ruin site to a construction worker. While she transforms specific ruins into a general statement on war, she insists that her work not be reduced to the merely political. The video is a metaphor for the radical physical and social changes taking place in Afghanistan. The young kids represent hopes to rebuild the country and forget about traumas that have struck Afghanistan.

Exhibition Utopian Days, 2014

Lida Abdul - In Transit, 2008, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Lida Abdul – In Transit, 2008, installation view, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Lida Abdul - In Transit, 2008, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Lida Abdul – In Transit, 2008, installation view, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea
Utopian Days – Freedom was an exhibition at the Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea’s first private art museum. Later it was shown in the same city at the Nowon Culture and Arts Center.

Artists: Adel Abdessemed, Lida Abdul, Phil America, Ivan Argote, Chim↑Pom, Minerva Cuevas, Chto Delat?, Cyprien Gaillard, Yang-Ah Ham, Andre Hemer, Tehching Hsieh, Zhang Huan, Jani Leinonen, Klara Liden, Armando Lulaj, Matt McCormick, Filippo Minelli, Wang Qingsong, Andres Serrano, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Kacey Wong, Xijing Men, He Yunchang.


5 min 20 sec
16 mm film transferred to dvd
Courtesy Giorgio Persano Gallery

Exhibited: In Transit, 2008

Abdul’s video work In Transit features school children filling a military airplane with cotton, attaching ropes, and attempting to fly the airplane like a kite. The harsh reality of the destruction of war is counterpointed by the hope in the future represented by the children – the most innocent creatures. In Abdul’s words:

It’s really a playful piece, a fantasy piece, with a group of kids who are playing with a very old Russian plane that was left years ago. I was really struck by this piece because it looks between a plane and a bird. It’s like a skeleton almost…

I want to bring out the beauty of the tragic way in which children face violent scenarios and show how they can be flexible in similar conditions with their innocence by creating an antidote to the tragedy of their condition. Without children playing and running through the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan today would be even more violent than it is.

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