The Great Nothing – Åbäke

At some point the thing known as ‘Art Multiple’ could just as easily crossover with the thing known as ‘souvenir’. A souvenir can be a tacky purpose made overpriced object, available in identical rows from a mid-location kiosk, the acquisition of which proves an in-person visit to a popular destination. Or, it can be a mere keepsake from a person or place, of no particular intrinsic value, perhaps a napkin from a favourite restaurant, a postcard, or the wristband from a certain event. This is akin to a relic, an object that carries the magic of memory within it.

åbäke’s The Great Nothing art multiple is an edition of editions, a collection of collections, a curation inside a curation. On offer is an accumulation of souvenirs representing experiences that you may have never had. It is a treasure trove of missed events, perhaps an antidote for FOMO, a surrogate for a lost life experience. What worth are these items if there is no memory to accompany them? What value do they hold?

Indeed, questions abound: how was the collection acquired? Why an edition of 12? What significance is there behind the airport ziplock bag, usually stuffed with potentially lethal toiletries and scrutinized through security scanners? A footnote at the bottom of the item list provides a clue, ‘now let’s imagine an exhibition.’ Perhaps it’s a pocket proposition!? A mixed blend of potent potential, a perspicacious pick’n’mix, a packet of seeds for future growth…

In short, The Great Nothing is a conundrum of mental candy, a lucky dip of aesthetic confection. Raising more questions than answers it strikes at the heart of Assembly Line’s core investigation: why make more than one?

©AL 2023

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