The context, these days, is almost everything. When the conversation with Claudia Pagès Rabal started for this exhibition, the fact that the gallery is hosted in one of the former courtrooms of the Dutch court was always present. In the last couple of years, Claudia has focused their research on different structures that are present although not necessarily visible in the capitalist society we live in. From an interest in jurisdictional language the artist has find out how these structures are not only maintained by the people who apply them but also by the langue used and accepted by all of us.

In Violence Allowed the research developed by Claudia shows itself in two different stages through two main works. The video sculpture “Walking the Gerund Mountain (Montjuïc, bando port)” shows the artist walking around the Montjuïc, the mountain overlooking the port of Barcelona. In their walks, we cross different moments of the past and present history of the place that carry within violent symbolic structures. Imported palm trees gardens, giant reeds growing next to a castle built to bomb the city, lookouts for the tourists, a nineteenth-century graveyard for the bourgeoisie, and a mass grave from the Civil War; on the other, scattered clothes, scraps, raves, and cruising spots.  

Facing the Mountain we find “The Stamped Paper Cave”, a sculpture covered with hand-crafted papers using the 17th century technique. Jurisdictional stamped paper used in the empire and its colonies to create a new tax. This work shows the decision from Claudia to move away from the imaginary architectures that create the Gerund Language, to focus on the signifier of the material in itself. What comes then is a revival of the old technique of hand-crafted stamped paper and its watermarks, used back in the days to give value, now entering a different abstract and artistic language.

In their work Pagès Rabal has been reclaiming many of these techniques and actions that have been removed from the fast society we live in, like the human made production of paper, due to their lack of productivity and profit. With those actions the artist allows us to look at the systems that constrain us while at the same time showing different methods and actions that can be done, if not against them, at least to piss them.

Claudia Pagès Rabal (Barcelona, 1990) has done readings, performed and exhibited in Tabakalera, Donostia (2022), Vleeshal, Middelburg (2022), The Ryder, Madrid (2022), MACBA, Barcelona (2021); Kunstverein Braunschweig (2021); La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2021); Capc, Bordeaux (2022); HAU2 & CreamCake, Berlin (2019), Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah UAE (2018); among others. Pagès has published books with Onomatopee (2020) and is preparing a new book with Wendy’s Subway (2023).

In their latest works, Pagès has focused on the logistics system and its link to jurisdictional language, both operating in the verbal tense of a non-finite and violent gerund that has direct effects on bodies. Pagès’s artistic research addresses circulation and maintenance and their role in sustaining the status quo. The continuity of certain systems and institutions is maintained through what Pagès calls the “immobility of stable circulations” and “containment architectures” that uphold power through specific flows of goods, capital and value within a suspended and capturing present.

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous support of Vleeshal (Middelburg) and Institut Ramon Llull.

25th of November - 15th of January

Violence Allowed

A solo show by Claudia Pagès Rabal

Montjuïc & Spinoza, 2022

Photos and ink on cardboard

100 x 30 cm
39.3 x 11.8 in

Walking the Gerund Mountain (Montjuïc, bando port), 2022

Led screens with video and sound on metal structure

132 x 170 x 190 cm
51.9 x 66.9 x 74.8 in 

The Stamped Paper Cave, 2022

Hand made paper and magnets on metal structure

140 x 270 x 170 cm
55.1 x 106.3 x 66.9 in

Bandolers (sides), 2022

Hand made paper, leaves, cooper and cardboard lightbox

32 x 43 x 17 cm
12.6 x 16.9 x 6.7 in
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