Abstraction At Work

Conceived by artist Mariángeles Soto-Díaz in 2009, Abstraction at Work is an art object, an understated performative series and an intermittent entity dedicated to rethinking abstraction’s functions. It infiltrates territories, disregarding categorical limits as it defines areas of operation. One of its points of origin could be traced back to noticing the ubiquitous construction sign on the street announcing Men at Work, a metonym for ‘people’, after which came brown women at work, a response, thinking through the power of abstraction. Always in the process of becoming and under construction, like a democracy, or a developing country, Abstraction at Work likes to bring street and painterly situations together in awkward moments that bring ontological questions of the painterly work of art to the surface. This work pays indirect homage to the work of Lotty Rosenfeld, whose resistance against the Chilean dictatorship through Una milla de cruces sobre el pavimento (1979) brought a new language of resistance to the streets.

Abstraction’s etymology from late Latin, abstrahere, is to separate, to draw away. In its uncompounded root form, trahere has a wider set of meanings, including to take on, assume, acquire. It means to draw together, bring together, draw along, to attract, to allure. To ponder, consider. It also refers to time, as in: to protract, to draw out, drag out, linger through, extend, prolong, lengthen, delay. Abstraction at Work brings these dimensions at the root of abstraction and others into work.