Valentin Abad
Born in 1981 in Paris, France
© Photo from the artist's archive

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. Included in Abad’s varied works are installations, sculptures, and art objects which 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 makes the impalpable, tangible. Throughout his works, Valentin Abad, invents and reinvents, constructing materials into new forms, as a way, to reinvent our everyday experiences.

"These strange days are strange. I have two kids so I have to be (with my wife of course) here for them. They need time from us. And we need time for us too. However, I still manage to have 1h30 per day to work on my stuff. It’s not long, but it’s every day. It makes think differently, accepting failures, retrying easily or take time to make a longer piece. For example, I’m realizing one idea I have for years. I’m producing it first in a small size, as an experiment (double balls course like a roller coaster), but I think finally got it. It had some mechanical issues I couldn’t figure out before, but having this time, this process, I’m able to finish it. I’m not happy with its volume, but I succeed, so it’s a great feeling. I think I would never have broken through if I hadn’t gotten these strange days for me."

Valentin Abad
Montreuil, France. April 20, 2020

Le futur est passé (The future has passed) (2019)

250 x 100 x 50 cm, galvanized steel, Tebopin plywood, degraded chiffon, ball bearings

Le futur est passé (The future has passed) (2019)

Le Futur est passé is a participative and contemplative installation. It questions the present, puts it on hold with her hypnotic broom.

In the form of a metronome architectural, the device is activated by the spectator. It’s a size metronome human, formalized by a degraded flag and a head of Janus as a counterweight. The whole is wrapped in a white steel rectangular parallelepiped.

Janus represented by his two faces is a Roman deity who looks both to the past and to the future.

Isn’t this representation of time the setting in motion of one of our faults, to be constantly between retrospectives and prospective speculations without being able to profit of the present moment?

There is nothing more to observe the movement of this Janus head carved in a multitude layers of plywood that make this degraded flag dance who tries to call attention of the spectator.

Le Futur est passé is simply a call to contemplation, on logout to enjoy a moment of this present instant.

 

Valentin Abad, artist

Le futur est passé (The future has passed) (2019)

Le Futur est passé is a participative and contemplative installation. It questions the present, puts it on hold with her hypnotic broom.

In the form of a metronome architectural, the device is activated by the spectator. It’s a size metronome human, formalized by a degraded flag and a head of Janus as a counterweight. The whole is wrapped in a white steel rectangular parallelepiped.

Janus represented by his two faces is a Roman deity who looks both to the past and to the future.

Isn’t this representation of time the setting in motion of one of our faults, to be constantly between retrospectives and prospective speculations without being able to profit of the present moment?

There is nothing more to observe the movement of this Janus head carved in a multitude layers of plywood that make this degraded flag dance who tries to call attention of the spectator.

Le Futur est passé is simply a call to contemplation, on logout to enjoy a moment of this present instant.

 

Valentin Abad, artist

Résilience de la matière (Resilience of matter) (2018)

170 x 190 x 11 cm, solid fir

Résilience de la matière (Resilience of matter) (2018)

170 x 190 x 11 cm, solid fir

It’s a pine tree installation, removable / reassemble that measures 170 x 190 x 11 cm.

This wooden brick wall combines an old material with the contemporary world. I use fir planks normally used in the building to structure dwellings which I alter by suggesting manipulation digital editing software. This almost instant effect on a computer becomes laborious in real life. The succession of cuts, pruning and sanding the wood gives this installation a surreal dimension. This removable and reassemblable wall echoes the world of childhood and its wooden construction games but of a new scale. This installation has a nomadic characteristic, an important attraction for this changing world. This material adapts to the new surroundings, it melts like an iceberg in the era of global warming but remains standing perhaps thanks to its intrinsic strength.

Resilience of a material can easily be transpose to human behavior. I feel that a human’s mind can always stand still despite the force trying to knock him down.

 

Valentin Abad, artist

Ping Pong relationnel (Relational ping pong) (2018)

230 x 8 x 8 cm, fir

Ping Pong relationnel (Relational ping pong) (2018)

230 x 8 x 8 cm, fir

Ping Pong relational is a sculpture in the mass that represents social relationships. Our actions, our moods, our way of expressing ourselves will affect our partner. Here, social gaming is like ping pong game, a continuous exchange.

 

Valentin Abad, artist

La théorie du ping pong (The ping pong theory) (2018)

Full HD video, 1 minute 27 sec.

There is a theory that Ping pong game would be the physical translation of our emotions in front of others.

Table tennis is an activity of constant exchange.

They can be in love, friendly, platonic, revengeful, boring or nonexistent.

These exchanges leave no room for pretense, the story of each individual shapes their way of playing.

According to this theory, Ping pong game is a reliable tool for analyzing the relationship to others of each human being.

 

Valentin Abad, artist

Enfant plante verte (Child green plant) (2017)

110 x 40 x 30 cm, plaster, green plant

Enfant plante verte (Child green plant) (2017)

110 x 40 x 30 cm, plaster, green plant

L’enfant plante verte reveals a child neglected by the attention of his parents. Become simple decoration, watered, devoid of any real emotional mark, sculpture refers to the sometimes-darker world of childhood and adolescence coexisting with the first utopias.

 

Valentin Abad, artist

La mécanique du trouble (Resilience of matter) (2015)

25 x 15 x 15 cm, two-sided swivel mirror, stainless steel, wood, 6V motor, chain.

La mécanique du trouble (Resilience of matter) (2015)

Through this rotating mirror and its elliptical mechanism, La mécanique du trouble evokes circularity, reversibility but also the vagueness that can be exerted while, in certain states of the romantic relationship, we feel a little more confused our own image and the link we have to each other. « I fear and reprove the loved one, as long as he no longer» sticks to his image. Said Roland Barthes in Fragments of a love speech.

The chained mirror which performs a slow revolution on itself is no longer intended for its use, here he imitates the image of the almost mechanical disorder that we can feel and which engages us in a new and blurred perception of ourselves, on the other and our environment.

It’s with humor that Valentin Abad approaches this emotional spiral, which is often a source of concern, because the «capture» of the other is never possible.

With this autonomous mechanism, Valentin Abad seems to join Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari who spoke of «desiring machine».

 

Maelle Dault