Exhibition "Gent de re" (People of Nothing) by Francesc Abad
- Exhibition "Gent de re" (People of Nothing) by Francesc Abad
- Thu, 22. February 2024 - Sun, 6. October 2024
- Exposició Temporal Actual EN
Exhibition Gent de re (People of nothing) by Francesc Abad
From February 22 to October 6, 2024
Inauguration on Thursday, February 22 at 6 p.m.
Retrospective exhibition of the work of Francesc Abad, a reference in conceptual art, with the adaptation of previous works and newly created works.
In the areas we are dealing with, there is only knowledge in the form of lightning.
The text is the long storm that comes after.
Walter Benjamin, Das Passagen-Werk ("Book of Passages")
Francesc Abad (Terrassa, 1944). Son of republicans who were retaliated against by the Franco regime, Francesc Abad grew up in a textile city of Terrassa in a “casal”, a low-floor shed with a patio to the darrere that followed a model of workers' house that the industrials textiles of Terrassa import from England. At the age of 14, he began working as a textile representative until, in 1972, a scholarship and a trip to New York convinced him to opt for artistic creation. With an initial painting in the orbit of Barnett Newman, he soon opted for conceptual art.
His first actions, begun in 1972, focused on the body and the four elements. Abad was part of the Grup de Treball (1972-1975), promoter of conceptualism in Catalonia and very critical of the Franco regime, and participated in collective events at the Llotja del Tint in Banyoles, Tarragona and Terrassa (Informació d'Art,1973) or the 9th Paris Biennale (1976).
Already in the eighties, he incorporated installation and became interested in concepts such as memory, culture, exile and landscape, adopting long-term projects and the notion of archive as a working method. Since then, he has placed himself in the wake opened by fundamental thinkers of the 20th century such as Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Ernst Bloch and Theodor Adorno. Along with the memory of contemporary Europe, Abad has carried out a reflection focused on work and the factory, and on notions such as Fordism and subalternity.
Although he has participated in exhibitions throughout Catalonia and in the Spanish State and also in Berlin, Frankfurt, Grenoble, The Hague or Marseille, he has always been linked to the territory by working in spaces such as the Goethe Institut and the Sala Metrònom in Barcelona, Espais de Girona, Sala Muncunill in Terrassa, Panera in Lleida, ACVic in Vic and the Granollers Museum, where the resident artist has been for years.
In 2022, Abad plans a permanent intervention in the Diagonal-Besòs Campus Park in Barcelona: Forest of footprints (Bosc d'empremtes). Starting from the fingerprints of the people shot by the Franco regime in this part of the city and from a work done previously (El camp de la Bota, 2004-2007), the artist proposes, in Benjaminian fashion, “passing the brush to “against the grain to remove the oblivion of history.”
The exhibition project Gent de re (People of nothing) recovers a significant part of Francesc Abad's artistic career, constructed as an always ongoing rehearsal. The title loosely translates the French expression Gens de rien, which, among other meanings, is used to designate socially ignored people. For this exhibition, Abad has brought together outstanding works around notions that cross his work in a transversal way, such as memory, barbarism, exile, Europe or democracy, a concept that opens and closes the exhibition. In all of them he resonates his own way of working that moves between intuition, poetry, testimony and critical thinking. Looked at as a whole, they show great fidelity to texts by fundamental thinkers of the 20th century such as Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, René Char, Paul Celan and Anna Akhmatova.
Gent de re speaks of exiles, displaced people or stateless people, a modality of subject established in the 20th century, as Hannah Arendt noted and that, we can already say, the 21st century has not been able to refute. They are those who, having lost the status of citizens, have also lost their belonging to a common world. Abad closes the exhibition by inviting us to reflect on the new condition of exile that the landscape is experiencing, one of the great challenges we face.
Text: Cristina Masanés
More information in: