The Great Nothing – åbäke, edition of 12

The Great Nothing, 2023
Edition of 12.

The Great Nothing

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?

©Assembly Line 2023

The Great Nothing is a pencil¹, a book², a temporary tattoo³, a postcard4, a newspaper5,

a napkin6, an invitation7, a set of 11 postcards8, a plectrum9, a poem10,

a wristband11 held together by a double elastic band12 in

a plastic bag13.

The purchase unlocks a new series of stories about, from, on, around, directly and indirectly linked to the objects.

1.  From the project Anti social Social Club (2019) by Ève Chabanon.

2. The Situation by Hannah Black, Chisenhale Gallery (2017).

3. “William Morris”, 2013 by Jeremy Deller After.

4. An edition and a caption for an installation by Pierre Leguillon in Diaporamas (2017), a group show at Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

5. from the installation Sweet Feast by Ulla von Brandenburg at the Whitechapel Gallery, 2019

6. An edition by Mark Wallinger for FRAC Grand Large, 2019.

7. Elsewhere by Fiona Tan, Frith St Gallery (2019)

8. Jollyroger, 2020 by Émilie Perotto for FRAC Poitou-Charentes after a residency in Campus des métiers and Lycée Louis Delage de Cognac, France.

9. From a plectrum box found on the street, London 2023

10. A rolled poem poster.

11. An edition by Lawrence Weiner, part of Station to Station, 2015, an exhibition by Doug Aitken at the Barbican, London.

12. From AM-BIG-YOU-US LEGSICON, an exhibition by Laure Prouvost at MHKA, Antwerp (2019).

13. From London City Airport, 2018.

Now let’s imagine an exhibition.