The project Desapariciones (Disappearances) by Aballí (Barcelona, 1958) sets out from the literary and film work of the Frenchman Georges Perec (1936-1982), particularly the novel La disparition (1969), whereby Perec performs constrained writing as he leaves out the letter “e” from the text. Aballí takes this element to reflect upon the referential and the subversion of the conventions that cause a work of art to be considered in a particular way.
The exhibition comprises a selection of cinema posters and the film Desaparición. Signe particulier: néant, inspired by and created from Perec's incomplete film version of his book La disparition. In these works Aballí clearly refers to the assumption of the codes created by Perec, who adopts them and converts them into constant resources; for instance, the obsession with order, the creation of archiving criteria and the establishment of categories to list daily activities.
For the twenty-three cinema posters, printed digitally, Aballí works with those that advertise Perec's own film projects in order to obtain the referential identification that his posters are his films. Thus Aballí plays with the limits separating reality and fiction and places the emphasis on the role of language in artistic expression given that the public do not know whether the posters correspond to films that were actually produced or to frustrated screenplays.
Along with these posters there is also Aballí's own film, set up in a light box that reads: “The end is the screen, which is only a surface”. This repetition alludes to the ambiguous line drawn between literature and image and expresses his stance on the impossibility of giving them sense due to the weariness brought about by the excess of consumed images. The film Desaparición, the core theme of the exhibition, articulates Aballí's reflections on the capacity of artistic practices to create fiction, particularly on the concept of absence. If in his book Perec disregards the vowel “e”, Aballí proposes a narration through a succession of images of people whose faces have been erased.
Furthermore, the film does not have sound, thus evading the effects of asynchrony or the correspondence between sound and vision. Desaparición is a radical succession of images - image/time - that represents a break in the narrative logic of traditional storytelling, instead offering situations of optical purity that do not result in an action.
North Carolina Museum of Art