Opening, Thursday 4th April 2013 at 19.30 h
The concept of time generates its own images: orange peel, cake, snail shell, rosewood, the factory basement ... suggests the complexities of the maze, the density of accumulated layers and the overlapping of palimpsests. Largely the work of Francesc Abad from structured reflections on time made in the absolute present (territory,ideology, conflict) to be projected into a past conceived as a construction of history and memory (W. Benjamin), and towards a future to consider and formulate the shade of utopia (E. Bloch).
This discourse confronts a dual contingency, one imposed by the passage of time and the other generated by the dominant powers (capital, ideologies). Thus, a strategy for a state of precariousness must be developed, a kind of samidzat, from which to mount a possible resistance and confrontation.
Project curated by Miquel Bardagil and Magdala Perpinyà.
The intention behind the exhibition Estratègia de la precarietat is to serve as an epilogue to the artistic career of Francesc Abad (Terrassa 1944), including his latest works, mostly unedited. In this sense, the exhibition project is organised along four main aesthetics research axes. On one hand, Francesc Abad presents a selection of Els Diaris del Pensar, a work in progress which began years ago, and through which he focuses on historical events of the recent past. In contrast, with Les costelles del segle the artist offers a critique of present times. Moreover, and linking these two lines of research, namely the recovery of the historical past and the constant reinterpretation of contemporary times, Abad has focused part of his interest in exploring the concept of utopia, and more specifically in the theories of Ernst Bloch. Thus one of the central issues of concern for the artist lies precisely in rethinking the present-day validity of utopia, considering we live immersed in a political-economic system that denies everything which makes us human, and which even cancels out our dreams. So it is not surprising that, within this exhibition, we find presented part of the project Espais per a la Utopia, a selection of five interviews, extracted from among a total of fourteen with people from different cultures and outlooks from all around the world, regarding such a controversial topic. Finally, Les nòmines, where Francesc Abad investigates what the term "employee" means within in the context of the field of creativity. At a time when productivity is closely linked to economic gains, the artist asserts the importance of "futility" and the subaltern as a subject who lives outside the economic dictates which mark the pace of our time.
Estratègia de la precarietat arises from the desire to find other ways to classify and understand reality. It is a kind of captain's log for our times. The exhibition may be defined as a essayistic journey, in Francesc Abad's characteristic style of voyaging, sailing across from the experience and legacy of a collective past. Thus, time itself is situated in the very nucleus of Abad's captain log.
One of the most significant images of Francesc Abad, that of the mille-feuilles pastry and its many layers, places us squarely within the concept of the complexity of history. Freudian theories showed overlapping layers in the formation of the human being. The essence of history is similar: overlaying viewpoints and analysis, but also events and experiences. From each layer, those fragments must be extracted which form a vision of the past in conjunction with the present. An inevitably fragmentary vision which creates a sort of map, constructed around an amalgamation of vanishing points. As in Warburg's Mnemosyne Atlas, Francesc Abad interprets the world as a collage, a kind of constellation made of image-cutting which repels conventional narrative reading. Thus, the artist forms a "visual writing" or what Benjamin called Denkbilder terms, or "images of thought."
This "cosmological" model proposed by Francesc Abad responds to a need to recompose the views of our past and present, sorting "the wheat from the chaff." The exercise of recovering the poetics of what is essential through the images, which is part of what the artist names the act of “fulling”-referring to his time employee of a textile factory-. Thus, the allegory to fulling -where machines machines clean and separate the fibres to obtain fabrics- is pertinent enough when the artist is looking to develop a discourse which attempts to avoid anecdote and gaudy fireworks, to highlight the role of art as an instrument capable of making intelligible a complex and problematic historical context.
Francesc Abad is aware that the prevailing neoliberal model is characterised by a manifest desire for omnipresence, such that, in the words of F. Guatari - makes the relationship between man and the world. Francesc Abad is rebelling against this false subjectivity. Estrategia de la precarietat is a kind of archive of personal and collective experiences, outside imposed subjectivity.
Experience has demonstrated the impossibility of global responses to highly complex macrosystem, which links political, economic, technocrats, ideological structures. Micropolitics, the everyday and the close-by, the paradigm of personal realms have become alternatives for a new critical discourse. The fragment, the overlapping, the palimpsest, the repetition, the assembly, the intertextuality join together in the work of Francesc Abad to construct a discourse on history and projection into the future.
[descarregar programa de l'exposició en PDF]
Francesc Abad (Terrassa, 1944), who began his creative career in the historical framework of so-called conceptual art in Catalonia, very early 70's,is one of the most important Catalan artists, because of his continuous line of work, and for the transversal spirit characteristic of his speech. One of the founders and key members of the GRUP DE TREBALL ("Working Group"), the most emblematic group of artists and theorists arising from the context of critical engagement enabled by dematerialised artistic attitudes, who participated in Documenta V in 1972 V in Kassel. For nearly forty-five years of uninterrupted activity, Francesc Abad has exhibited his work regularly throughout Spain, and in recent years has also participated, nationally and internationally, in important themed and group exhibitions of an historical and critical nature.
His artistic activity is constructed and is recognised as a cultural reflection articulated in the form of dialectical images, focusing on man's fragility, landscape and the word, the passage of time and the weight of memory, the industrial agony and historical progression, the end of worlds, exile and pain, configuring a writing of particular limits, clearly prioritising his personal commitment and social research over aesthetic quality and the objective character. An extremely helpful reflection upon social and political events which have determined the history of the twentieth century.
His latest installations are , a process of historical research about Camp de la Bota (www.francescabad.com), an important project in terms of remembering and returning social and personal dignity to the forgotten victims of the Franco regime, and the BLOCK W.B.(Www.blockwb.net) a synthetic confluence, almost definitive, of the research and interests the artist has shown over many years in the life and work of the German philosopher, Walter Benjamin, who died in Portbou.
Francesc Abad's continuous and interwoven interest in thinkers, scientists, historians and philosophers of the twentieth century, also arises when he describes his own work: "Since 1958, and for fifteen years, I worked in the textile industry, the next thirty I spent in the world of education, therefore I have always been closely linked to the world of work: a permanent exile, lucid and charming." As Joseph Brodsky said, to whom, the artist confesses, he owes part of his poetic influence: "Professionally or, rather, by the cumulative effect of everything I've been doing for years, I am an artist; by profession, however I am a teacher of drawing". Also, as Hannah Arendt claimed, one of his most persistent mottos:"I do not intend to make a career, not out of conviction, not by ability".