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Últimos deseos (Last Wishes)
Original title: Últimos deseos
Video projection: DVD (colour, sound)
Dimensions: 6' 06'' Variable dimensions
In the mid nineties, Abad's work took a new direction when he began to use audiovisual media that had never before appeared in his work, which had been clearly linked to a sculptural reflection based on a reading of mass-produced industrial materials. He himself has always stressed the conceptual continuity that the adoption of these new strategies has meant to him. In the words of Eugeni Bonet, "the use of video and other audiovisual technologies [in Abad's work] is a logical extension of ideas that were already present in his sculpture in the late eighties. Specifically, for his interest in a form of metamorphic sculpture, flexible, even pliable, mobile (though not kinetically) and capable of regenerating itself in different states of the material, being always one and the same… and multiple." The use of images in which those transformations became visible was already pointing towards the terrain which the artist would delve into more deeply with a more explicit use of audiovisual technology. Últimos deseos, a piece from 1995 which marked the beginning of a new stage, is an image of a naked tightrope walker performing on a high-wire filmed from below, projected on the ceiling or vault of the exhibition room. The shot, which has great visual strength, consists of the wire in close-up, the tightrope walker in the middle ground and a background of darkness that frames the whole image. Three conceptual aspects are strongly emphasised in Últimos deseos: the circularity of time, simplicity as an element of condensation or "suspension", and fragility as a discourse of knowledge. On the one hand circularity, a recurrent theme in Abad's work, is illuminated here by means of the loop sequence of the tightrope walker's movements, which also intensifies the feeling of exposure and uncertainty involved in the performer's activity, as he totters backwards and forwards along the wire, on the "high-wire". On the other, the visual simplicity of the piece, quite typical of an artist who adopts a tight economy of resources, guarantees a conceptual concentration which really helps the spectator to enter unequivocally into the reflection it proposes. Nevertheless, that simplicity produces a strong feeling of staging, since the image is projected onto the ceiling and brings about a "Baroque", almost hypnotic, "suspension" of the spectator's gaze: it is a feeling of hallucination which befits an illusory stage integrated into the everyday. And lastly the discourse on fragility proposed by Últimos deseos: the reality of risk, of insecurity, of danger as a continuum, awareness of the non-existence of hand-holds or safety nets, not only in our lives as such but also in the context of artistic practice and the "spectatorship" of art itself. In the opinion of the critic Luis Francisco Pérez, "in Abad the human figure which glides majestically through the territories of crisis is a metonymy of the fall of representational illusion and its abandonment in impossibility."
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