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Valentin Abad’s Metaphoric Artworks Transform Human Psychology Into Something Tangible

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The transformation of everyday objects and materials reigns in the practice of French artist Valentin Abad; his peculiar works aim to comment on social psychology and human behavior.

Abad’s varied works include installations, sculptures, and art objects that abstractly focus on social and psychological constructs such as the concept of time, imagination, and the strains of relationships. Transforming human feelings into visual and mechanical things means that Abad makes the impalpable, tangible. “I try, with sculptures and the staging of objects, to figure out emotions or mental states”, he explains to IGNANT. “Human relations are impalpable, so I try to give them a shape.” Throughout his works, Abad invents and reinvents, constructing materials in new forms as a way to reinvent our everyday experiences. In his world, a motorized mirror spins sand around an interpretation of a clock, a chain with batons at either end made from fir wood makes for a frustrating game of ping pong, and a power drill has a mind of its own: spinning in jerking circles in a manner that feels disorderly and chaotic.

Working with visual metaphors, the themes in Abad’s pieces are either abstract or self-evident. But how does an artist sculpt feelings? The work ‘Crushed’ is the former—a kitchen sponge made from a textured granite; the piece’s physical heaviness is symbolic of the weight and strain of family relationships. ‘Resilience of 2018’ sits more in the latter category, its metaphor is clear to the point of being facetious. A stacked brick wall looks as if it will collapse on itself; a fitting visual representation for the year just gone. The simplicity of the works means that each can be interpreted differently depending on the viewer’s experience—a factor that is one of the most important fundamentals of art.

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All images © Valentin Abad