Ignasi AballÝ - presque invisible

Projection of films until March the 17th.

The logic of doubt


When thinking of Ignasi Aballi’s work and the oppositions and inversions that he permanently summons, the famous sentence by Fernando Pessoa from his Book of Disquiet comes to mind: “Solitude devastates me; company oppresses me.”

Any analogy between the Catalan artist and the Portuguese writer could seem perfectly incongruous and completely off topic as the latter has namely inscribed his literary path in that of radical fiction; fiction that is completely foreign to Aballi’s world who, on the contrary, sets his work in a reality that supplies him with matter for thought as well as materials: whether it be objects, newspaper cuttings, various recordings, measures or occurrences of the colour spectrum amongst others.


Nevertheless… From one side or another, with references and resources that are admittedly very different, an interpretation, an analysis of the world comes to light that mainly bases itself on a scrupulous and lucid observation not of its absurdity but of elements that make its interpretation complete, because it is built on vertiginous and endless uncertainties and oppositions.

While the present exhibition is entitled “Almost invisible”, the previous one by the artist in the same walls in 2015 was called “Almost visible”, whereas the exhibition that the Museo nacional Centro de arte Reina Sofia in Madrid devoted to him in 2016 was titled “Without beginning/Without end”. 

Pessoa again: “I have become so used to feeling the false and the true, the things we dream as clearly as the things we see, that I have lost the human ability, albeit erroneous, to distinguish truth from lies.” While Aballi is not preoccupied with lies, there is however always an uncertainty relative to the established truth at work.

In this way, he exhibits a long suite of almost two hundred sheets of paper on which is printed on each of them, barely legible, the word “almost” followed by a different adjective each time (Almost, 2018). Therefore, nothing is beautiful, simply “almost beautiful”. The adverb is recurrent and tenacious, the sign of an impossibility of retaining a definitive meaning, of closing interpretation, and especially signifying fulfilment.


In this instability that constitutes reality, in the difficulty – the impossibility? – of insuring oneself that the nature itself of things is conform to what one believes, Ignasi Aballi creates a complex body of work based on comparisons and oppositions that he imposes on the other, on the spectator, the necessity of making choices, of deciding which interpretation he/she will embrace in fine with what is submitted to him/her.

In his Translation of a Japanese dictionary (2018), that takes the shape of collages of blocks of colour cut out of newspapers, that could once again seem to be endless, a form of absurdity comes to light: if these associations would seem useful in trend books used by the fashion or design world, they make up a visual repertory that could also potentially be translated into the aforementioned fields without however becoming a translation. Moreover, with another source of confusion, the use of newspaper that really is one of the last places where the eye will truly pay attention to colour.

Pessoa again: “The only reality for me is my feelings. Things only have value through the interpretation we give them.”


Entertaining doubt, leaving possibilities open, fuelling oneself on uncertainties, beyond contributing to avoiding isolation (Pessoa still: “Changing from the ghosts of faith to the spectres of reason is just changing cells.”) results indeed in constantly keeping the reflexion alive here, but also maintaining an instability that gives a living aspect to things that lets nothing be fixed, as there is always a detail or a fragment missing that could ensure that “the object” that is considered is showing itself in a complete or finalised manner.

One could see in this way this glass laboratory container that was broken before the artist tried to rebuild it as best he could (Tentative de reconstitution, 2018). Beyond the absurdity of the idea itself and the challenge to the logic it constitutes, the imperfection that results from it, fuelled by this uncertain nature that encourages curiosity, opens the way to the exploration of an infinite paradox in which Ignasi Aballi’s work fits in. As well as these brackets on the wall, between which nothing is legible except the blank ((…), 2018). The artist does indeed seem to be trying to reach an in-between in order to examine reality, not in its assured contingency but in its flaws and interstices; almost in its potential dark sides.


Pessoa to finish: “The entire life of the human soul is mere motions in the shadows. We live in a twilight of consciousness, […].” Where doubt seeps in…?


Frédéric Bonnet


Projected films :


Pictures without Words, 2012, film 16mm transferred to digital, 10 minutes

Words without Picturess, 2012, film 16mm transferred to digital, 10 minutes

This Is Not the End, 2012, film 16mm transferred to digital, 10 minutes

Available, 2016, 10 minutes

Film Proyección, 2012, film 16mm transferred to digital, 90 minutes

One image movie, 2016, 20 minutes

Reflexión (Passion), 2009, 93 minutes

Revelacions, 2005, 58 minutes