Glass architecture, 2012
Installation | Acid etched glass
I n v i s i b l e, 2012
Installation | Vinyl on glass
‘We all know the Bartlebys, they are those beings who dwell in a profound negation of the world. They take their name from the scrivener Bartleby, the clerk in the story by Herman Melville who has never been seen reading, not even a newspaper; who for long periods stands looking out of the pale window behind a screen in the direction of a brick wall on Wall Street; who never drinks beer or tea or coffee as others do; who has never gone anywhere, but lives in the office, even spending his Sundays there; who has never said who he is, or where he comes from, or whether he has relatives in this world; who, when asked where he was born or given a job to do or invited to say something about himself, always responds by saying: “I would prefer not to.”‘ With these words, the writer Enrique Vila-Matas, as the narrator of Bartleby y compañía, compiles a book of footnotes on an invisible text in which he does the rounds of the ‘Bartlebys of Literature’, the ‘Writers of No’ who let themselves be governed by the impulse of nothingness and never wrote, who kept their work hidden or who suddenly stopped writing. In short, the writers that, by way of their writing, questioned the purpose of writing or, in other words, whether it was worth continuing to write.
Ignasi Aballí is not a writer, but he belongs to that genealogy of ‘Bartlebys’ that, convinced of the impossibility of painting, questions pictorial practice and the possibility of representation. Like Bartleby, Dr. Pasavento and other characters from the books of Enrique Vila-Matas, Aballí tries to disappear from his work, to make nothing the object of his art and to approach reality from new perspectives. In each of the two subtle site-specific interventions in the display cases of the Ca la María gallery, Aballí reproduces an excerpt from Paul Scheerbart’s Glasarchitektur (1914), in such a way that certain characteristics of that book’s theoretical approach end up creating the effects described, by means of the application of the words directly onto the glass. The sliding and therefore movable doors of the display case mean that Aballí’s work can appear or disappear at any time. In Invisible, Aballí literally gives form to each one of the letters that make up the word INVISIBLE, creating a play of contradictions between the visibility/invisibility of the word itself. To be and not to be, being visible and invisible at the same time and being perceived or not can be understood as aspects of this ‘Bartleby’ attitude of ‘I would prefer not to’.