Rachela Abbate’s strict aesthetic investigation on the concept of space, conceived not just as physical reality, but rather as a systemic entity has been ongoing for some time. She is particularly interested in intangible and abstracted architectures – social, relational or linguistic ones - that is to say, well-established constructions that are at the basis of our mental processes. To the idea of space defined thus, the Italo-German artist opposes the idea of non-space, that is to say, the idea of an openness produced by the artistic process itself. According to Abbate, the work of art has to checkmate the existing paradigm of knowledge and consciousness and to stimulate (infinite) possibilities of thought.
Categories on Nature consists of 370 pages extrapolated from several volumes (texts by Giordano Bruno, Kant, Derrida, Levi-Strauss, not a casual choice) and collated in order to form a single, unbound book. In every sheet the text is opportunely obscured by black stripes which compromise its readability. Therefore the architecture formed by black and white, full and empty, opposes itself to the architecture of the text. Abbate thus critiques the postmodern practice of quotation and its tendency to systematically de-contextualize and manipulate speech. Above all, however, the artist denounces Western alpha-centrism and its limits. The rhythmical alternation of the black fields constitutes a code of signs that, overwriting the verbal one, suggests another possibility of reading and vision and therefore of thought and cognition.
In Geodesy-Theodicy (2017) the artist reproduces the drawings of the Arabic mathematician and astronomer Al-Biruni in the sand: the drawings describe terrestrial and planetary revolutions. By recalling the two-dimensional system typical of Islamic culture, Abbate alludes to other ways to represent the world. Western thought conceives reality as a space in order to get to know it and to master it, but this is simultaneously an indispensable precondition and a limit.
According to the artist, in the video Earth’s Move (2017) breathing itself is non-space. Through her works of art, site specific, interdisciplinary, multi-media and meta-linguistic works, Rachela Abbate pursues different aims, such as creating transformation processes, arousing a change in the audience’s imagination, and stimulating new patterns of thinking.
The artist does not create objects, nor does she pursue superficial aesthetic results; rather, she arranges devices for the audience in order to activate it. Therefore her art is conceptual and participatory, aimed at generating a social, cultural and political change.