Abidin was born in Baghdad in 1973 and received a bachelor’s degree in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Baghdad in 2000 and a Master’s degree in Media and New Media Art from the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland in 2005.
Abidin is a visual artist whose projects, whilst focused on global social, political, and cultural issues, traverse a complex landscape of identity, memory, exile, violence and war. Taking specific actions or objects out of their initial context he turns them on their head, creating ironic, darkly humorous and often absurdist responses, exploring issues such as cultural alienation and distorted realities. His video and sculptural installations often reference pop culture, racial stereotypes and traditional icons, designing tense situations of confrontation and dialogue that truly engage the viewer.
Abidin has participated in several solo exhibitions including: GALERIE TANIT, Beirut, Lebanon, 2019; History Wipes, Ateneum Museum, Helsinki, Finland, 2018; Relics, KARIM Gallery, Amman, Jordan, 2017; Between Pop Music, Terror, and Seduction, Fotogalleriet, Oslo, Norway, 2016; Galerie SAW Gallery, Ottawa, Canada; Adel Abidin in Oslo, Oslo Central Station, Oslo, Norway, 2016; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels, Belgium, 2016; Immortals, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2015;Cover-up! Al Sultan Gallery, Kuwait, 2014; Life is Short, Lets Have an Affair, Helsinki, Finland, 2014; Cover-up! Flow Festival, Helsinki, Finland, 2014; I Love to Love, Forum Box Gallery, Helsinki, Finland, 2013;Blueprint, Maraya Art Center, Sharjah, UAE, 2013; Symphony, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2013; Camel Toe, Turku Art Museum, Turku, Finland 2013; Assumptions, Forum BOX Gallery space for Art, Helsinki, 2013; Espace Croise, Roubaix, France, 2012; Kunsthalle Winterthur, Switzerland, 2012; Beyond, Arter-Space for Art, Istanbul, Turkey, 2012;Adel Abidin, Darat al-Funun – The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman, Jordan, 2011; Ping Pong, Artopia Gallery, Milan, Italy, 2011; Adel Abidin, Wharf: Centre d’Art Contemporain de Basse, Normandy, France, 2011; Anne De Villepoix Gallery, Paris, France, 2011; and Ping Pong, Galeri Zilberman, Istanbul, Turkey, 2011.
Abidin has participated in several group shows including: Soundlines of Contemporary Art, ICAE2018, Armenia, 2018; Pépites de Cinéma, Mucem, Marseilles, 2018; NGV Triennial, Melbourne, Australia, 2017-18; Why Are We Here Now?, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany, 2017; Clouds⇄Forests, 7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art, Russia, 2017; Ourouba, The Eye of Lebanon, Beirut Art Fair, BIEL, Lebanon, 2017; My Music, ARKEN-Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2017; Sanctuary, FOR-SITE Foundation, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2017-18; Contemporary Forms of Artistic Expression from Finland, Galerie Nord | Kunstverein Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany, 2017; Reassembly, Tinos Quarry Platform, Greece, 2017; From Sound to Silence, Galerie Tanit, Beirut, Lebanon, 2017; Glasstress Boca Raton, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Florida, USA, 2017; Art Dubai Contemporary, with Lawrie Shabibi, UAE, 2017; The Muscle Memory, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, 2017; Rock the Kasbah, Institut des Culture D’Islam, Paris, France, 2017; Social Calligraphies: East – West, Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland, 2016; The Ferry Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand, 2016; Blue Hour, XX International Biennial of Visual Arts of Santa Cruz de Lasierra, Museum of Contemporary Art, Bolivia, 2016; The Hangar Exhibition, Amman Design Week, Ras el Ain, Amman, Jordan, 2016; Patria o Libertad! (Land or Liberty!), Centro Cultural Matucana 100, Santiago, Chile, 2016; When History Became Emotion, Short film programme, Film sector, Art Basel Hong Kong, with Lawrie Shabibi, 2016; Art Dubai Cinema, Art Dubai, with Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2016; 5th Guangzhou Triennial, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China, 2015-16; The Great Game, Iranian Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2015; Glasstress-Gotika, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy, 2015; Home Ground: Contemporary Art from the Barjeel Art Foundation, Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada, 2015; Un-Common River, One Architecture Week, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2015; Anxiety and Other Ways of Being, Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, Chicago, Illinois, USA, 2015; All the World’s a Mosque, JAO Tunis, Carthage, Tunisia 2015; Art Dubai, Lawrie Shabibi, Dubai, UAE, 2015; Face to Face, KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland, 2015; Aide-Mémoire: Footnotes, Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE, 2015; Culture of Peace, Lajevardi Collection, Tehran, Iran, 2015; Entre Nosotros (Between Us), Video Art from the Middle East and North Africa in a Global World, Etopia Center for Art and Technology, Zaragoza, Spain, 2014; Songs of loss and Songs of Love, Gwangju Musuem of Art, Gwangju, South Korea, 2014; Late, Modern and Contemporary Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Sydney, 2014; Music Palace, Fondation Boghossian, Villa Empain, Brussels, Belgium, 2014; The Jerusalem Show VII, Jerusalem, Palestine, 2014; Simple past, perfect futures, Le CENQUATRE-PARIS, Paris, 2014;Collective Reaction, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Houston, Texas, USA, 2014; Shifting Identities, MACRO – Museuem of Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy, 2014; Arab Contemporary, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark, 2014; Here and Elswhere, New Museum, NYC, New York, USA, 2014; Trade Routes, Hauser & Wirth Gallery, London, UK, 2013; The Unanswered Question, TANAS Art Space and Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Iskele 2, Berlin, Germany, 2013; Southeast Asian survey of contemporary Arab art, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore, 2013; From Geographies to Inner Landscapes in Arab, Iranian and Turkish Contemporary Art, Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, Canada, 2013; Workplace, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, UK, 2013; Love, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan, 2013; In Other Words, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany, 2012; Unveiled Body, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, France, 2012; Aftermath, Akbank Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey, 2012; Reoriented, Havremagasinet, Boden Sweden, 2012; Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Mori Art Musuem, Tokyo, Japan, 2012; Come Invest in Us. You Will Strike Gold, Hilger Brot Kunsthalle, Vienna, Austria, 2012; Move (Hamle), Arter-Space for Art, Istanbul, Turkey, 2012; Bread of Life, Sous-face 37, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France, 2012; Consumption of War, CDA – Projects & Galeri Zilberman, Abu Dhabi Art, Abu Dhabi, UAE 2012; Adel Abidin – My Work, International Kurzfilmtage, Winterthur, Switzerland, 2012; 54th Venice Biennale, Iraq Pavilion, Venice Italy, 2011; Plot for a Biennial, 10th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UAE, 2011; SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway, 2011; Continuity, Center for Contemporary Arts Celje, Slovenia, 2011; Patria o Libertad! On Patriotism, Immigration and Populism, MOCCA, Toronto, Canada, 2011; and The Changing Room, Spazio Qubi in association with Metro Quadro Gallery, Turin, Italy, 2011.
His works are in the collections of public institutions and major private collections including the Heino Art Foundation, Helsinki, Finland; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki, Finland; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar; Kiasma – Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland; Espoo Museum of Modern Art (EMMA), Helsinki, Finland; Nadour Collection and Kamel Lazaar Collection.
In 2015 Abidin received The Finland Award for Visual Arts from the Finnish Ministry of Culture and Education. In 2012 he received a Five Year Grant from The Art Council of Finland and was a nominee for the Ars Fennica Prize in 2011.
Abidin currently lives and works between Amman and Helsinki.