Ignasi Aballí

Galeria Antoní Estrany-Mercedes Vilá

Ignasi Aballí's most recent work is clearly concerned with apprehending the essence of light itself and with the incorporation of this inapprehensible substance into the plastic representation of the sensory. In his search for a pictorial language, his mistrust of the act of painting and the validity of pure painting have led him progressively to adopt certain raw materials. Since 1988, he has been using raw industrial materials as a substitute for traditional pigments, practicing a very singular type of material painting. The media he uses include iron (in sheets and reduced to powder), charcoal (in chunks, carbon pencils, or powder) and sulfur, to which he later adds gold, silver, and ash. With these materials he builds his industrial landscapes, gluing his mixtures with latex onto every kind of canvas until he decides to test the material with the least material material—light.

Aballí has shown an express desire to take control of what is essential in the formation of his pieces, that is, in the configuration of their physical aspect, allowing nature to act with its arbitrary logic on the work. There are 13 canvases made up of large pieces of cardboard—representing six windows of his studio, three balcony doors, the windows of his house, and one light bulb—all painted strictly with natural light. He put the respective flat cardboard models on easels on top of which he placed the corresponding cutout structure. In order for the light to imprint its trace, he exposed them one by one to natural light for four consecutive days. The light was thus able to discolor the uncovered spaces with a geometric precision, describing the effect of time on these fragile structures which experienced an accelerated aging process. Aballí did not resort to pigments or anything else to stop the inevitable corrosion of such a flimsy material as cardboard, in spite of running the risk of its deterioration and, ultimately, of its disappearance. His obsession with the material representation of time—as if time could adopt a physical, bodily appearance—is what drove him to try the same experiment with light, understood as a form of time or its sensible appearance. This has led him to rephrase the time-space/reality-simulation continuum, and the syntactical possibilities that derive from his perception of the sensory world.

The value of his recent work lies not only in its conceptualization, but in the means he uses to put this reduction of the apparent into practice, stripping the artistic form to its essence. In spite of his brief trajectory, Aballí’s work has from the beginning been consistent: from his first watercolors, which showed fragments of light on asphalt, to the paintings that incorporate garbage and industrial materials such as coal, to his factory landscapes, and, finally, to the pieces which he is now showing—they are all the exclusive product of the action of light and time.

Menene Gras Balaguér

Translated from the Spanish by Vincent T. Martin.