Adelita Husni-Bey

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Adelita Husni-Bey
Adelita Husni-Bey

(1985-05-15) 15 May 1985 (age 35)
Milano, Italy
EducationChelsea College of Art and Design (UK), Goldsmiths University (UK), Advance Course in Visual Art Fondazione A. Ratti Como (IT), Independent Study Program Whitney Museum, (USA)
Years active2006
Known forVisual arts
Notable work
Postcards from the desert island 2011, White Paper: the land 2014, White Paper: the law, 2015 The reading / La Seduta , 2017

Adelita Husni-Bey (born 1985) is a visual artist best known for her films and installations.

Early life and education[edit]

Husni-Bey received a BA in Fine Art from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London in 2007 and she graduated with an MA in Photography and Uran Cultures from Goldsmiths University in 2009. In 2010 she was selected for the Advanced Course in Visual Art at the Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como in Italy under visiting professor Hans Haacke. Between 2012 and 2013 Husni-Bey was a fellow researcher for the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Adelita Husni-Bey's work focuses on complex questions about gender, race and class using collectivist and informal pedagogical models within the framework of urban studies. Her practice involves the analysis and counter-representation of the hegemonic ideology in Western society. Practicing as both an artist and a pedagogue she activates creative processes, such as role-playing, group undertakings and workshops with students, athletes, lawyers, activists and architects. As part of her methodology, she sets up situations and experiments where her collaborators understand their own relationship to the social and economic power of our present times.

In the film Postcards from the Desert Island (2011) [1][2][3] the artist documents a three week workshop with children from an experimental, self-run elementary public school in Paris, École Vitruve. The school was created in 1962 with the aim of experimenting with educational models based on co-operation and non-competitiveness. To test the potentiality of radical education, Husni-Bey, inspired by the novel Lord of the Flies (1963) by William Golding, asked a group of children aged between seven and ten years, to imagine their school's hall as a desert island and to relate themselves to the new territory. The film documents how the group of children organize and how they relate to problems and imagine a life without institutions or control, and where to draw the distinction between public and private.

The work White Paper (2014 - ongoing) consists of an ongoing research into the relationship between the notion of property, legislation, and the right to housing under capitalism. It focuses on three countries: Egypt, The Netherlands and Spain. The first chapter White Paper: The Land (2014) was presented in Cairo at Beirut (art space). It consists of a video-installation focused on the land rights of people affected by the mega-urban development Cairo 2050,[4][5] a government-backed and privately funded metropolitan development plan of massive proportions, which threatens the livelihood of many informal settlements such as the neighbourhood of Gezirat al-Qursaya and Ramlet Boulaq. The second chapter White Paper: The Law (2015) was supported by Casco (Utrecht) and it resulted in a legal document, the Convention on the Use of Space.[6] The document was written through a series of public drafting meetings across the Netherlands in collaboration with squatters, lawyers, housing rights activists, tenants associations and the general public. For the last chapter of the project White Paper: The Imaginery (2016) the Convention travelled to Spain, to Móstoles neighbourhood in Madrid and it was hosted by CA2M. The project was carried on in various independent spaces and squatted social centres, where a number of public meetings were held to draw up the Spanish version of the text. The project is documented by a book, White Paper On Land, law And The Imaginary[7] edited by Antonia Alampi, Binna Choi, Jens Maier-Rothe, Pablo Martínez.

The Reading / La Seduta,[8] was presented at the Italian Pavilion, curated by Cecilia Alemani, at the 2017 Venice Biennale. The artist organized a workshop in Mannahatta (Lenape territory, known as Manhattan, New York) with a group of youngsters which consisted of meetings, discussions and theatre exercises inspired by the Theater of the Oppressed. The activities were focused on participants' connection to the environment and to the exploitation of the earth in relation to complex topics such as technology, use, value, threat and vulnerability. The workshops resulted in a film where the artist designed a tarot deck which was used as a performative device and an excuse as well for participants to talk about their own spiritual, colonial, and technological relationships to the earth and land. The installation was accompanied by a series of sculptures representing luminescent silicone hands.


Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 2019 Adelita Husni Bey: Chiron, New Museum, New York[9]
  • 2017 Adelita Husni Bey - Four Films curated by Lucia Pietroiusti for Serpentine Cinema, Peckhamplex, London
  • 2017 Il Mondo Magico, curated by Cecilia Alemani, national representation, Italian Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale
  • 2017 2265, Miller Contemporary, New York
  • 2017 Libro blanco: la tierra, la ley y el imaginario, curated by Pablo Martínez, CA2M, Madrid
  • 2016 A Wave in the Well, curated by Nora Raizan, Sursock Museum, Beirut The Classroom, Ex-Montessori school, Milan
  • 2015 Movement Break, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco[10][11]
  • 2015 White Paper Chapter II, Casco, (Office for Design Art and Theory) Utrecht
  • 2014 Il Principe, la Classe e lo Stato, Laveronica arte contemporanea, Modica, Sicily Agency – giochi di potere, NCTM e l’arte, Studio Legale NCTM, Milano
  • 2014 White Paper: The Land (chapter I), Beirut, Cairo, Egypt
  • 2014 Opening, solo stand at ARCO artfair, Madrid
  • 2013 Present Future, solo stand at Artissima, Artfair, Turin
  • 2012 Playing Truant curated by Robert Leckie, Gasworks, London.
  • 2012 Clays Lane Live Archive curated by Shama Khanna, Supplement Gallery, London.
  • 2011 La Montagna Verde. Dove? Nel Deserto. Per Dove? Verso il Nulla, curated by Gabi Scardi, Viafarini-CareOf, Milan.
  • 2011 Lethe, curated by Riccardo Lisi in various venues between Como, Porlezza and Dongo.
  • 2010 DeadMouth, curated by Bruna Roccasalva, Laveronica Arte Contemporanea, Modica.

Selected group exhibitions[edit]

  • 2017 Take Me, I’m Yours curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Christian Boltanski, Roberta Tenconi, Chiara Parisi, Hangar Bicocca, Milan
  • 2017 Action!, Kunsthaus Zurich
  • 2017 ‘Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art 1905-2016‘, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  • 2016 16a Quadriennale di Roma, Altri Tempi, Altri Miti - curated by various curators, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome
  • 2016 Premio MAXXI, curated by Giulia Ferracci, Maxxi Museum, Rome
  • 2016 Atlas [de la Ruinas] de Europa, curated by Julia Morandeira and José Riello, Centro Centro, Madrid
  • 2016 L‘altro sguardo, Fotografe italiane 1965-2015, MuFoCo collection, Triennale di Milano, Milan Lo Specchio Concavo, curated by, BACO, Bergamo
  • 2016 Straight to Video, curated by Aaron J. Cowan, DAAP Galleries, University of Cincinnati
  • 2016 Gwangju Biennale, The Eighth Climate - curated by Maria Lind, Gwangju
  • 2016 Art On Film - Lo Schermo dell’Arte- screening curated by Desdemona Ventroni, Museo delle terre Nuove, Florence
  • 2016 Single Channel- screening curated by Marco Antonini, Anthology Film Archives, New York
  • 2016 Spatial Practices and the Urban Commons, Tenderpixel, London
  • 2016 Pratiques d’hospitalité- screening of works 2007-2015 curated by Simone Frangi, Le Magasin, Grenoble
  • 2016 Briser la Glace - curated by Armance Rougiron, Chen Ben Chetrit, Chloé Curci, Eleonora Castagna, Giulia Pagnetti et Laura Caraballo, Le Magasin, Grenoble
  • 2016 Rien Ne Vas Plus? Faites Vos Jeux- curated by Laura Amann, Kateryna Filyuk and Alessandra Troncone, De Appel, Amsterdam
  • 2016 Islas Nuevas, curated by Tanja Baudoin and Maricruz Alarcon, Galeria Macchina, Santiago de Chile
  • 2016 As Rights Go By- curated by Sabine Winkler, MuseumsQuartier, Vienna
  • 2016 7th Bucharest Biennal - curated by Niels Van Tomme, various locations, Bucharest 4
  • 2016 Atti sul Lavoro - curated by Martina Angelotti, ON, Bologna
  • 2016 X Bienal De Nicaragua Fundación Oritz Gurdian, Plaza España, P.B. Edificio Málaga Managua, Nicaragua
  • 2015 Ennesima – Una mostra di sette mostre sull’arte italiana, curated by Vincenzo De Bellis, La Triennale di Milano
  • 2015 Moving Image Art Across The Arab World, Malmö Konsthall
  • 2015 2nd Tbilisi Triennial S.O.S – Self-Organized Systems, Center of Contemporary Art, Tbilisi, Georgia
  • 2015 Participation at 5th Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art May – September 2015, Curator: Katerina Gregos Alternativa- curated by Emily Pethick, Aneta Szylak and Beatrice Josse, Gdansk Mlode Miasto,
  • 2015 Gdansk Collaboration Beyond Consensus – Rehearsing Collectivity, curated by Borbala Soos, Off-Biennale, Budapest GLITCH- (touring) curated by Davide Giannella, Arthub, Shanghai
  • 2015 Grand Domestic Revolution (Goes On!)- curated by Martina Angelotti and Yolande Van Der Heide, CareOf, Milan
  • 2015 Social Choreography - an Ecology of Collective Experience - curated by Stella Sideli and Borbala
  • 2015 Soos, Tenderpixel, London
  • 2015 Sources Go Dark, Centre for Futura, Praha, curated by Valerio Borgonuovo and Silvia Franceschini
  • 2015 Collective Actions, SE CCA, Southern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston – Salem, NC
  • 2014-2015 Glitch, PAC, Milano
  • 2014-2015 Really Useful Knowledge, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
  • 2014 After Image, Galleria Civica di Trento
  • 2014 Me, You and Everyone We Meet - curated by BAR project, Zumzeig cinema, Barcelona
  • 2014 On Stage - curated by Lorenzo Bruni, Karst, Plymouth
  • 2014 Vegetation as a Political Agent - curated by Marco Scotini, Parco Arte Vivente, Turin
  • 2014 Journey to the end of the word - curated by Antonello Tolve, Galleria Tiziana Di Caro, Salerno
  • 2014 We Have Never Been Modern - curated by Angelo Gioe’ and Maria Rosa Sossai, Songeun Art Space, Seoul
  • 2014 Giving Contour to Shadows, curated by Elena Agudio and Bonaventure Ndikung, Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin
  • 2014 Utopia for Sale?, curated by Hou Hanru and Monia Trombetta, Maxxi Museum, Rome
  • 2014 Ici L’Afrique, curated by Adelina von Fürstenberg, Domaine du Chateau de Penthes, Geneva
  • 2014 Arena, curated by Dobrila Denegri, Centre of Contemporary Art Znaki Czasu (CoCA), Torun
  • 2014 Atlanti Sottili, curated by Marinella Paderni, Casabianca, Bologna
  • 2013 Mobile Art School - curated by Jennie Guy and Cleo Fagan, Lismore Castle, Waterford.
  • 2013 Meeting Points 7- Ten Thousand Wiles and a Hundred Thousand Tricks, curated by WHW, Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp (MuHKA).
  • 2013 What is an Institution?-Beirut: Season4, curated by Antonia Alampi, Beirut, Cairo.
  • 2013 O degree Performance-the fragile beauty of crisis, special project curated by Mirjam Varadinis as part of 5th Moscow Biennale, Moscow.
  • 2013 Lofoten International Arts Festival, curated by Bassam El Baroni, Eva González-Sancho and Anne Szefer Karlsen, Lofoten.
  • 2013 Mental Furniture Industry, curated by Claire Staunton, Flattime House, London.
  • 2013 Les Nouvelles Babylones, curated by Sandra Patron, Parc St.Leger, Pougues Les Eaux.
  • 2013 The Passage of a Few Persons through a Rather Brief Unity of Time, TEMP, New York.
  • 2013 Old and new-Behaviours of the material and immaterial, curated by Colectivo Azotea, and platform, Sant Cugat del Vallès.
  • 2013 The Sea is my Land, curated by Francesco Bonami and Emanuela Mazzonis, Maxxi Museum, Rome.
  • 2013 The 338 hour Cineclub, curated by Emeline Vincent, Rosalie Doubal, Alec Steadman, Fondazione S. Re Rebaudengo, Turin.
  • 2013 Jens, curated by Anne Szefer Krlsen, Hordeland Kunstsenter, Bergen
  • 2013 Vdrome, curated by Filipa Ramos, Andrea Lissoni, Jens Hoffman, screening on online platform- Mousse Magazine.
  • 2012 Crossing Bodies – Immaginari postcoloniali, curated by Routes Agency, Museo Nazionale Luigi Pigorini, Roma.
  • 2012 El espacio cósmico estaba ahí, en dos o tres centímetros, curated by Juan Canela, Bacelos Gallery, Vigo/ Madrid.
  • 2012 I Vespri- Civic Forum in Five Acts, curated by Marco Scotini, Modica
  • 2012 Arrivi e Partenze 2012: Mediterraneo, curated by Elettra Stamboulis, Mole Vanvitelliana, Ancona.
  • 2012 Signs of Protest-From Page to Street, curated by Marcello Smarelli, Incontri Internazionali D’Arte, Roma.
  • 2012 2012 Right to Refusal, curated by Eva Kraus and Doreen Mende, Magazin4/Kunstverein Bregenz.
  • 2012 TRACK- A Contemporary City Conversation, presented by S.M.A.K museum, curated by Mirjam Varadinis and Philippe Van Cauteren, Ghent.
  • 2011 A Holiday from Rules, curated by Vincenzo de Bellis, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (MACRO), Roma.
  • 2011 Da Mezzogiorno a Mezzanotte, Screening curated by Cesare Pietroiusti, Teatro Valle Occupato, Roma.
  • 2011 Truth, or-bits online platform, curated by Marialaura Ghedini
  • 2011 100 di 50, performance event curated by Marco Scotini, Giacinto Di Pietrantonio.
  • 2011 NABA (New Academy of Fine Arts), Milano.
  • 2011 Posso Errare ma non di Core, curated by Andrea Bruciati, Galleria Comunale di Monfalcone, Monfalcone.
  • 2011 Nomadologie(s) #3, curated by Mary Angela Schroth, Sala 1, Roma.
  • 2011 Defect as the Beginning of Desire, curated by Andrea Bruciati, Galleria Neon Campobase, Bologna.
  • 2010 American Mountains, The Nunnery, curated by Jamie George, Richard Whitby, London.
  • 2010 Give and Take, Fondazione Ratti XVI Course in Visual Arts, visiting professor: Hans Haacke, CareOf, curated by Anna Daneri, Cesare Pietroiusti, Milano.
  • 2010 Hymns, Colorama artist run space, curated by Nick Jeffrey and Joseph Addison, London.
  • 2010 Dialects III: Iconologies, curated by Alina Dolgin, Pushkin House, London.
  • 2009 All That Is Solid, Temporary Contemporary, London.
  • 2009 Playlist, leading curators select contemporary art video, Neon>Campobase, curated by Gino Gianuizzi, Anna Santomauro e Alessandra Saviotti, Bologna.
  • 2009 Treehouse Gallery, Regent’s Park, London.
  • 2008 Seek Refuge- Temporary structures in places of transit, offsite, XI Venice Biennial of Architecture, Mestre, Italy.
  • 2008 Uferhallen, opening show, curated by John Bock, Uferhalle, Berlin.
  • 2007 International Times, curated by Hannah Barry, 78 Lyndhurst Way Collective, London.
  • 2007 Frame-Structure, curated by Marta Casati, Laveronica Arte Contemporanea, Modica, Italy.
  • 2006 Chelsea Show, Royal Masden Hospital, London Dice Eyes, The Foundry, London.

Prizes and nominations[edit]

In 2016 Husni-Bey was the recipient of the Illy Prize for artists under 35 at the 16th Rome Quadriennale. In 2013 she was nominated for the Furla Foundation prize. In 2012 she won the Victor Pinchuk Foundation award in Kyiv (Ukraine), and she was awarded of the Young Collector’s Prize at the Rome Artfair, resulting in the acquisition of her work by the MAXXI Museum in Rome. In 2011 Husni-Bey won the Euromobil Bologna Artfair prize as ‘Best artist under 30’.


  1. ^ "Postcards from the Desert Island by Adelita Husni Bey at the Kadist Foundation, Paris". Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  2. ^ "Postcards from the Desert Island by Adelita Husni Bey at Gasworks, London". Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  3. ^ "Adelita Husni Bey by Paolo Magagnoli". Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  4. ^ "Cairo 2050". Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  5. ^ Reeve, Christopher (2011-07-29). "What ever happened to Cairo 2050?". Retrieved 2018-02-26.
  6. ^ Traganou, Jilly (2016). Designing the Olympics. Representation, Participation, Contestation. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780415874908.
  7. ^ Alampi, Antonia (2017). White Paper: On Land, Law and the Imaginery. Amsterdam: Valiz. ISBN 9789492095275.
  8. ^ Alemani, Cecilia (2017). Il mondo magico/The magical world. Milano: Marsilio. ISBN 9788831727204.
  9. ^ "Adelita Husni-Bey: Chiron". Retrieved 2020-03-01.
  10. ^ Editorial, Staff (2016-12-03). "Adelita Husni-Bey: Movement Break". Mousse Magazine. Retrieved 2018-02-28.
  11. ^ Saviotti, Alessandra (2016-02-04). "Movement Break: Adelita Husni-Bey investigates sport as a metaphor of life's endless performance". Droste Effect. Retrieved 2018-02-28.

External links[edit]