Vitrines CMYK, 2011

CMYK Vitrines, 2011
Installation, 4 vitrines: 180 x 180 x 60 cm each

Vitrines CMYK is an installation that brings together the different interests that run through Ignasi Aballí's work. In it we find the linguistic element and the capacity, always limited, to index and name the world; a physical essay on the nature of colour, and a reflection on the exhibiting conditions of art and, by extension, on the very nature of artistic activity.

As the title indicates, Aballí takes what usually serves as a support for a work of art – Perspex display cases placed on plinths – and alters their function: while they usually serve as a support, here they constitute the content. While they normally ‘show’, in this case they ‘demonstrate’. Aballí presents four apparently empty showcases. Instead of objects, he assigns them a colour: the four primary pigments for the execution of any type of colour printing. While elsewhere he has worked on chromatism based on painting, in this case he refers to the standard four-colour printing system known by its acronym: CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, key [or black]). But the showcases also incorporate another of the artist’s common elements: language. Each has a brief description of the assigned colour, with information about the colour in question and a list of its different ordering systems used from Aristotle to date.

Besides offering a theory about colour that reverberates throughout the artist's work, Vitrines CMYK can also be seen as a reflection on the conditions of the exhibition space, on what is shown and what is said, on transparency and opacity, invisibility and illegibility, and on what is exhibited and the conditions that make the act of exhibiting possible. Because, beyond its visual properties, Aballí's work reflects on the limits of the illusion of representation, whether pictorial or linguistic.

Technical details

Original title:
Vitrines CMYK
Registration number:
Aballí, Ignasi
Date created:
Date acquired:
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation
Object type:
Methacrylate, digital print and aluminium
4 vitrines: 180 x 180 x 60 cm each (height x width x depth)
Meier Building, Level 1
MACBA Collection. MACBA Foundation. Work purchased thanks to "la Caixa" Foundation
© Ignasi Aballí
It has accessibility resources:

The MACBA Collection features Catalan, Spanish and international art and, although it includes works from the 1920s onwards, its primary focus is on the period between the 1960s and the present.

For more information on the work or the artist, please consult MACBA's Library. To request a loan of the work, please write to colleccio [at] macba.cat.

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