Exhibition | Meadows/ARCO Artist Spotlight: Ignasi Aballí

Ignasi Aballí (Spanish, b. 1958) Palabras Vacías, 2020. Installation view, Galería Elba Benítez, Madrid, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Galería Elba Benítez, Madrid. Photo by Luis Asín.

Listen to a conversation between Amanda Dotseth, director ad interim and curator at the Meadows Museum, and artist Ignasi Aballí:


On Aballí's Palabras Vacías (Empty Words) series (1:17 minutes):


On Aballí as a conceptual artist (1:06 minutes)

On Aballí's training and artistic formation (1:29 minutes):

Audio Transcript

Interview with the artist by Amanda Dotseth, director ad interim and curator at the Meadows Museum.



On Aballí's Palabras Vacías (Empty Words) series (1:17 minutes):


Dotseth: Can you introduce us, just briefly to, to the piece on display, to Palabras vacías?


Aballí: The title refers to the fact that the words have been cut out of their respective metal plates so that the writing itself has created an empty space. The phrase “empty words”, is used to refer to a lack of content in something someone said.


The twenty-seven words have in common the fact that all of them exclude, or negate, the possibility of an image. They are empty of imagining.


Words such as unthinkable, invisible, nonexistent, or erased will not allow us to visualize anything. If something is unthinkable, invisible, or unimaginable, they are not related to our visual experience, and if we were able to do so then they would be no longer unthinkable or unimaginable.


The words propose a reflection of the relationship between language and image, between what we mean and what we see, between signifier and signified.





On Aballí as a conceptual artist (1:06 minutes):


Dotseth: Would you describe yourself as a conceptual artist?


Aballí: Yeah, this could be a possibility, among others. I used different media to do my work, so that depends, every time, on I want to do, what I want to express, what I want to communicate.


And in relation to that I use, sometimes painting other times photography, visual, or an installation like you have at the Meadows. I’m not focusing on only one discipline or technique. I use every time, the best to express what I want.


 And I think this is quite common with many artists. We're not focusing on only one discipline and we can change all the time, depending on what we want to express.


But conceptual, of course, I like very much, the art of the conceptual period -- the sixties and early seventies.




 

On Aballí's training and artistic formation (1:29 minutes):

 

Dotseth: Ignasi Aballí, can you tell us a little bit about your formation as an artist and your training?


Aballí: Well, I have been always, since I was a child, interested in drawing and using paint. And then when I arrived to the moment, which I had to decide what to do with my life, what, what profession should I follow, I had very clear that the most interesting thing for me was the art practice.


So, I studied art, fine arts, in the university in Barcelona, in the specialty of painting. And then, when I finished, I started to work myself, trying to develop my own work.


The beginning was not easy because without the support and the help of teachers and other students, you feel a little bit alone. And we have to find your own way to work and to know what do you want to express. My case took a little bit of time, but finally I could find a line to follow and to start to express what I wanted to do.