Medidas de emergencia puts on display Antoni Abad’s (Lleida, 1956) artistic evolution in regards to the use of new media. In this case, the tour passes from sculptural practice to video. Experimentation with media does not mean the abandonment of sculpture; on the contrary, he strikes a balance between both practices, including a combination of the two on many occasions. By introducing new procedures and display resources, the possibilities of analysis are considerably widened, allowing other relationships between the piece and the spectator to form. This turning point in Abbot’s career occurs in the mid-nineties and coincides with his stay in Canada in 1994 at The Banff Centre for the Arts.
The presentation is divided into two parts. Although they unfold in separate rooms they are not entirely independent of each-other, thematically and conceptually speaking. The first gathers two pieces which have in common the idea and the act of measuring, for which Abad proposes the palm as a unit, not only in length but for space occupancy and possession.
The video installation Medidas menores and the sculpture La distancia recorrida al ir pasillo abajo, el once de agosto de 1994 -both from 1994− represent the translation of measurements of daily distances, so that the sequence of palms is a variable which can measure the flow of life. In this way, firstly, he questions the conversion of his palm -a personal measure- in standard or universal parameter. Secondly, the artist shows that everything can be measured, i.e. controlled or contained.
Conversely in the video installation Sísifo (1995) Abad insists on the possibilities of video to create states of maximum physical and psychological stress. The artist appeals to the ethereal nature of the video image. The projection of an image of a naked man -according to the classical canon of beauty- is faced with his own reflection in a mirror. The figure ceaselessly pulls a rope, so that the inevitability and persistence of eternal anxiety can be analysed, as well as the constant struggle of man with himself.
In the second exhibition space the protagonists are rats. In Errata (1997), the tension increases when the image of dozens of rats being looked at ends up occupying the room. In this way, the distance between the spectator and the object of repulsion is narrowed until there is none. The inclusion of the sound of rat screams contributes to the spectator’s increasing feeling of disgust and discomfort. In this way Abad makes visible the subterranean life of rats, presenting them as an example of a parallel life, as well as imagining them as another possible unit or pattern, given their equivalence of length with the palm.