If there is something genuinely enigmatic and disturbing in the recent works of Pep Agut, it is their peculiar relationship with language. The form in which the word appears in these works, falling like a strange rain in layers, has very little to do with any kind of narrative vocation. It is not, of course, a concession to that return of the narrator (if there is narration, it is supplied by the images) which seems to be the inspiration for so many other contemporary works. I would say that if there is a resemblance to something that went before it may well be to the treatment given to language by some of the artists identified with linguistic conceptualism.

Audio description of the work of Pep Agut "Sense títol (La cuina)", 1992

“Pulverize the notion of work. Make, from the notion of work, pigments. / Bind, with linseed oil, the pigments of the notion of work.” Compostatge de nou pintures, compostatge de sis pintures i compostatge d’una pintura amb marc i vidre subjects the physical ingredients of a painting—oil, canvas and wood—to the composting process. The title alludes to the process of transforming organic matter to obtain compost or natural fertilizer. If the pictorial tradition is based on efforts to represent, Perejaume reduces painting to its strictly material condition.

Audio description of the work of Perejaume "Compostatge de nou pintures, compostatge de sis pintures i compostatge d'una pintura amb marc i vidre", 1994

Part of the multiple and heterogeneous production of Dieter Roth, Lorelei (The Long Distance Sonata) features Roth himself practising the piano along with his children, Vera and Björn. The piece is made up of 38 cassette tapes that contain the musical recording of small exercises and piano improvisations, and which are exhibited alongside a radio/cassette player, ostensibly for listening to the tapes. The elusiveness of the total playing time (2,400 minutes) reinforces the vital condition of the piece over and above its identity as a work of art designed to be experienced in a gallery context. Lorelei was released in 1978 in a limited edition of 20 copies.

On the one hand the canvas, on the other the mirror, me in the middle. One eye looking at the canvas, the other at the mirror. Staring at the two objects intensely they gradually become superimposed. My mirror image transfers itself to the canvas while remaining in the mirror and the canvas transfers itself to the mirror, becoming one and the same thing.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, 1962

Audio description of the work of Michelangelo Pistoletto "Architettura dello Specchio", 1990

The videos, photographs and installations produced by Mabel Palacín explore the status of images and their centrality in the contemporary world. La distancia correcta, co-produced by the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica in Barcelona and the Museum of the University of Alicante (MUA) in 2003, alters the spectator’s usual position in relation to the images. The work consists of two videos rear-projected onto two screens, showing a series of actions taking place in parallel. The images follow a character who goes to an enclosed, unspecified space that could be a garage, a warehouse or a basement, to prepare an explosive artefact.

The artistic trajectory of Ignasi Aballí, an artist that comes from a classical background in the Fine Arts, quickly evolved toward the predominance of the concept versus pictorial illusionism. Aballí suspends the image and annuls any possibility of fiction. ‘I came to the conclusion that I preferred to suggest the presence of a painting rather than show the painting directly. I was more interested in leaving the image in suspension’, explains the artist. With the act of painting becoming problematic, Aballí developed multiple strategies to push the notion of painting to the limit. Elements of the ‘pictorial’, such as the layer of varnish, the stretcher or correction fluid, become an allusion to the non-existent painting.

Audio description of the work of Ignasi Aballí "Sense límit", 1989

Replacing the pen and notepad by a microphone and sound recording system, it seeks to show the rhythms that hide behind the repetition and variation of everyday actions and events. Moreover, it aims to highlight the proximity between literary practice and sound creation by proposing a reconsideration of what it means to listen. And listening is not, as it might seem, a passive activity, but always implies some form of writing. But how can one move (transpose, translate, replicate...) Perec’s exercise into the field of sound recording? How do you get from an eyewitness account to another that is aural? First, we must stop thinking of a soundscape as conceptually equivalent to the notion of a visual panorama and develop protocols as a guide for selective listening, registered in the place where we listen. 

FONS ÀUDIO #15 Ignasi Aballí
12.11.2012

The work of Ignasi Aballí (Barcelona, 1958) explores the relationship between the artist and the spectator and their immediate environment. Day-to-day life in Aballí’s Barcelona studio, and everything that surrounds the artist in other areas of his life, becomes a constant source of ideas for testing the limits of his work as a creator. Thus, in spite of his classical training in Fine Arts, Aballí’s practice quickly evolved towards an almost absolute prevalence of concept. Gradually, he devised strategies to distance himself from the process and the actual work, as the act of painting became problematic. Aballí broadens his analysis of limits to the formalisation of his works, which often challenge the perception of spectators, and forces them to complete the piece through observation, according to the maxim by which ‘the less there is to see in a work, the greater will be the desire to see it.’

Gregor Schneider began his Haus u r (House u r) project in 1985. The artist has converted the house where he was born in Rheydt, near Cologne, into the axis of his artistic production and field of experimentation. Schneider remodels its various spaces with walls, dead-end corridors, false ceilings, blind windows, etc., removing the rooms’ original functions and constantly reinventing spaces by means of which he creates new circulations. Schneider’s work imagines the physical transposition of places found in the literary imagination of Franz Kafka or Jorge Luis Borges: a great three-dimensional trompe-l’œil which invalidates the normal logic of space and creates a climate of mystery and tension.

Audio description of the work of Gregor Schneider "Haus u r Nacht, Rheydt", Oct.1996, 1996
Son[i]a #214 Luz Broto
02.10.2015

Luz Broto's work addresses issues related to sociology, architecture, choreography, and collective decision-making processes. With an academic background in fine art, many of her artistic interventions spring from minimalist, extremely precise and simple gestures which question conventions that we follow mechanically. Her works have a strong political and poetic component, and take place both inside exhibition spaces and outside of them, requiring subtle processes of negotiation that reveal the hidden rules of public devices.

0-24 h (2005) is a video projection that plays back the scenes that take place inside the museum when it is closed to the public. The piece was specifically conceived by Ignasi Aballí (Barcelona, 1958) for the MACBA exhibition. Each evening, a 16 hour film was placed in one of the Museum’s surveillance cameras in order to record everyday moments of inactivity, in real time.

Underlying this piece were some of the most characteristic features of Aballí’s work, which, since the eighties, has developed along two separate but constantly interacting lines: on one hand, a systematic implementation of the imperceptible artistic gesture or minimum intervention, which connects him to conceptual art. On the other, the use of fiction as the material for a critical analysis of the discursive and narrative structures of cinema. The passing of time becomes the conceptual filter that allows Aballí to approach situations from everyday life without appearing to interfere in them.

I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life
Jean-Michel Basquiat