The Meadows Museum, SMU, presents an exhibition by the Spanish conceptual artist Ignasi Aballí (b. 1958), ahead of his solo presentation at the Spanish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale.


Aballí is the first Spanish artist to visit Dallas and exhibit work at the museum as part of the MAS: Meadows/ARCO Artist Spotlight program. Established in 2019, MAS is a six-year partnership between the Meadows Museum and Fundación ARCO, the leading organization behind Spain’s premier contemporary art fair, ARCOmadrid. MAS selects one contemporary Spanish artist with limited recognition in the U.S. biennially to present their work at the Meadows Museum.


His series Palabras Vacías (Empty Words) (2020), which are on view at the Meadows, confronts the viewer with 27 individual, galvanized iron plates hung at eye level. Cut into the metal plates are words such as “INVISIBLE” and “ABANDONED”— and other adjectives that reference being invisible or forgotten—thereby imbuing the negative space with meaning; what he refers to (both literally and figuratively) as “empty words.”

The resulting tension between the form and meaning of the words creates a dialogue between language and image, between signified and signifier. Confronted by empty space, the viewer is, in a way, seeing the meaning of the words rather than the words themselves. Palabras Vacías (Empty Words) is hung differently each time it is exhibited, and the artist himself worked with museum staff to oversee the installation in the Meadows’ galleries.


Following the opening of his exhibition at the Meadows Museum, Aballí will represent Spain in the Spanish Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, where the artist will present an immersive, site-specific installation titled Corrección (Correction). Aballí’s architectural intervention will create new spaces within the Spanish Pavilion, transforming the existing space with new rooms, doors, and corridors, some of which will lead to nowhere.

Born in Barcelona in 1958, Ignasi Aballí has had solo exhibitions of his work in galleries and public institutions, both national and international, since 1990, including shows at Espacio Uno, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid, 2002); Museu d’Art Contemporàni de Barcelona (Macba, Barcelona 2005); Fundaçao Serralves (Porto, Portugal, 2006); IKON Gallery (Birmingham, United Kingdom, 2006), ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany, 2006); Today Art Museum (Beijing, China, 2009); Artium Museum (Vitoria, Spain, 2012); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain, 2015); Fundación Joan Miró (Barcelona, Spain, 2016); and the Museo de Arte de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia (Bogotá, Colombia, 2017). In addition to being chosen to represent Spain the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022 he has participated previously in the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007), as well as the Sharjah Biennial 8 (United Arab Emirates, 2007), the XI Sidney Biennial, (1998), the 4th Guangzhou Triennial (2012) and the 13th Cuenca Biennial (Ecuador, 2016). Aballí was awarded the Premio Nacional de Arte Gráfico in 2007 and the Premio Joan Miró in 2015. He continues to live and work in Barcelona and exhibits regularly at the galleries Estrany de la Mota (Barcelona), Elba Benítez (Madrid), Meessen de Clercq (Brussels), Proyecto Paralelo (Mexico City) and Nordenhake (Berlin).


Palabras Vacías

Until June 26th

Meadows Museum

5900 Bishop Blvd., Dallas, TX 75205