I think that somehow we are reproducing gestures that a long time ago had a concrete application. Now an artist can take a knife and cut the water in a lake. Maybe a long time ago a medicine man was doing exactly the same gesture or ritual with the practical purpose of getting ram. An "art idea" can be only communicated through an "art piece". And it is in this "art element and its subconscious communication" that I'm very interested in.
Àngels Ribé conceives art as an experience, not an object. Although her access to artistic practice was through sculpture, in 1969 she abandoned formal sculpture in favour of actions understood as experiments with nature and the body.
In her early works, she took elements from nature such as foam, water or light in order to experiment with their physical condition and capture the sculptural gesture of natural forces. Notable in this sense are her works from 1969: Intersecció de llum, Intersecció d'onada and Intersecció de pluja. In all of these, Ribé creates intersections by placing minimal objects such as a piece of glass or nylon string in natural contexts like a forest or the sea, and exposing them to random and transitory factors such as the wind, rain or the passage of time. The result is an experimental work that reveals what is hidden and is normally overlooked in everyday life.
In subsequent actions during the early seventies, the artist continues to relate to natural elements and their transformations, but this time adding her own body. Her body is often used as a vehicle to investigate the geometrical condition of space and how space can be thought of mathematically. Notable examples of this are her series of works entitled 3 punts made between 1970 and 1973. As the title suggests, the works are based on the different variants of a triangle, the simplest of figures uniting three points and one of the basic measurements of the world.
In 3 punts 1, a tensed piece of string between two points on a wall, projects the shadow of an equilateral triangle on the angle of intersection between two walls. In 3 punts 2, the artist goes one step further: her own body becomes the perpendicular line of a right-angled triangle while its shadow forms the base. And finally, in 3 punts 3, Ribé once again uses her body against a white wall and turns it into the vertical side of isosceles, scalene and acute triangles: all three being formed as the artist moves in space and time. 'The creation of an isometric variation of models of triangles, with the artist herself determining the height, was projected with the intervention of her shadow at the base and a segment of wood defining the form of the chosen geometrical figure, which, by moving, was going consecutively from a right-angled to an isosceles triangle, until the whole spectrum of geometrical possibilities was covered.' (Maria Josep Balsach, 'Àngels Ribé', Barcelona, Paris, New York. El camí de dotze artistes catalans, 1960–1980. Barcelona: Generalitat de Catalunya, 1985 [cat. exp.
3 punts are not the only works in which Ribé experiments with geometry. In Invisible Geometry 3, the artist creates a figure in space simply with the trajectory of her own gaze. In one of her better known actions, Six Possibilities of Occupying a Given Space, she unfolds the fingers of her hand one by one on a flat surface, working with the ideas of sequence, rhythm and cognitive action. As the artist explains in the catalogue of the group exhibition Nature into Art, held in Chicago in 1973: 'My intention in this series of works is to approach nature and physical phenomena. The works deal in perception, some by searching for new information, others by artificially recreating the physical laws.