The exhibition Abello, Imaginary Landscape celebrates Joan Abello 100 anniversary through the lens of contemporary artist duo Varvara & Mar. After having spent time in Joan Abello archive and museum during their residency in summer 2022, the artists have connected with Abelló’s practice and life, which is reflected in the new artworks presented at this exhibition. Moreover, Mar Canet, a native of Mollet del Vallès, recalls the influential presence of Abelló in his hometown.
The exhibition unfolds in three segments. The initial space draws inspiration from Abelló’s collection and his fascination with being depicted by fellow artists. The walls showcase portraits of Joan Abelló created by renowned artists, interspersed with AI-generated portraits that reinterpret the artist’s visage in a multitude of ways and styles. This approach allows the artists to extend Abelló’s obsession into the neural age, a time when it is speculated that artists will be superseded by AI.
The central section is a tribute to landscape and travel. Abello loved to travel and skillfully combined voyages with art practice. In the imaginary journeys that Varvara & Mar guide the audience through, the artists transport the viewers back to the locales that Joan Abelló visited and immortalized in his paintings. The video work on display reimagine these locations in the present day through the lens of Abelló’s aesthetic, as seen by machine eyes in the age of the Anthropocene.
In the final segment, the artists unveil their latest piece, ‘Vision of Destruction’. This interactive artwork enables the audience to experience how a mere glance transform a stunning landscape view into an industrial site.
As early adopters of creative AI tools, Varvara & Mar are renowned for incorporating technology into their art practice and for their contemplation of social and environmental themes from a machine age standpoint. They probe into how technology has altered our viewpoints, transformed us, and impacted the environment we inhabit.