Llistats (Artistes) ) (Lists (Artists)), 1997-2005
Photograph | Digital print on photographic paper
150 x 105 cm
One of the main lines of work in Ignasi Aballí’s artistic practice has to do with time, with rhythm, with the consumption of images and information to which we are subjected. At times the artist as subject virtually disappears, leaving the accumulation of dust or the corrosive action of the sun on different materials bestow form on the work. At other times he compulsively collects, gathers together and inventories, piling up materials and information from various sources and configuring a gigantic archive. But, almost always, time dilates in the processes, proffering a patient attention that is the antithesis of the haste habitual in contemporary society.
This is the case with the listings, a series of works that Aballí has been making since 1997, when he began cutting out words and numbers from the newspapers he leafs through and reads every day. Starting from a ritual act, which many of us engage in daily when we read the papers, and occupying it as a personal working space, the listings follow different lines of development. On the one hand, in being archived and grouped on the basis of certain common characteristics they offer a different reading, a mental image and a new meaning. On the other, in relocating the information, detaching it from its original context and generating a new possibility of interpreting it, a movement of performative translation is generated.
Numbers and letters; these basic units of information are the raw material of the listings. The words tend to appear in relation to numbers that indicate quantities of things: people, deaths, money, the missing, years, immigrants, drugs… what happens when these enumerations are decontextualized and framed with other similar tallies, grouping them together? If we think of their source — the daily papers — we can think of them as little snippets of reality, tiny sections of social problems and issues ordered by subject, and in so doing generate a new scenario of understanding. Going a little further, if we once again group these lists by topic or interest, we can generate various kinds of genealogy. For example, the three pieces of the Cal Cego collection, which fall within the sphere of creation: artists, works and film; could we make this the basis for an analysis of how the creative field is perceived within a certain time frame?
Engaging with the listings raises questions about the way we assimilate the information, the speed at which this appears and disappears, the different possibilities of reading or even how certain topics are covered in the mass media. What is the relationship between language, numbers, the consumption of images and information, and reality? How is that reality transformed into numbers and letters? Trying to figure out issues like this can help us understand the world around us and, above all, how this world is codified, communicated and assimilated.