Antoni Abad

Galeria Benet Costa

Antoni Abad’s recent pieces exhibit the same concern for movement as his preceding work. Indeed, his exploration into the essence of movement predates his abandonment of painting for sculpture and informed his “plaited paintings,” 1983, which marked the transition from one medium to the other. The meeting of material and form provokes syntactic reconstruction of the combinatory process; in this respect, the viewer can contemplate and observe movement’s ability to change or transform passive material into active material. As is the case with the conjugation of time and space, or movement and stillness, a new product results from this copulation of material and form; subject to the action of movement, the material can no longer remain intact. Each piece is defined as a composite structure, built in such a way that the movement introduced into it determines the indefinite number of figures that it can adopt without losing its essential properties. The six pieces, each entitled 8 x 8 dòcil (8 x 8 docile, 1991), are composed of a square net, woven out of smaller squares joined with hoops. Isolated above a cube, a net of larger, corrugated metallic squares, Dòcil sobre cub (Docile on cube, 1991), is constant like the sea. Mecalux (a metal) and galvanized steel are the materials used for the two pieces. It is a question of depriving industrial materials of their function, in order that they may adopt forms that are an end in themselves. The correspondence between the aforementioned pieces extends to Cèntuple Mòvil (Hundred-times mobile, 1991), a work that is basically made up of Mecalux and folding chairs, assembled in such a way that they permit incalculable positions.

Abad identifies himself with the Minimalists, and his sobriety in the selection of materials, as in his formal conception, confirms this. Geometry supplies him with these essential forms that tolerate infinite formal variations. Indeed, his exploration is above all “formal.” Abad defends austerity, and he sacrifices diversification in order to attempt a synthesis, where reflection appears indissociable from each attempt to ward off formal homogeneity. His evolution is at the same time inseparable from the materials chosen (paint, plastic, foam rubber, Mecalux, galvanized steel), and his capacity to stimulate form.

For four years, Abad has had his studio right in the central Mecalux factory in Barcelona, where he has worked with this specific material as the basis for his pieces, both as a formative element, and in joining and coordinating the various parts. The collaboration of the company’s technicians has been essential for putting his theoretical experimentation into practice. In the near future, he expects to abandon the industrial space and move into his own studio. Nevertheless, his most recent project is the installation in the Arts Pavilion at the World Expo in Seville; this sculpture is composed of a thousand plates of galvanized steel, joined by its vertices to form a great expanse of mesh that appears to be suspended in the air, supported only by a light steel beam.

––Menene Gras Balaguer

Translated from the Spanish by Vincent T. Martin.