LAb[au] is composed of Manuel Abendroth, Jérôme Decock and Els Vermang, based in Brussels, Belgium. In their practice, the artists investigate the relation between art and language not only by means of written words and other forms of coded language, semantics, but also through signs, or semiotics. Likewise, they take a linguistic approach, employing information and communication science in the field of art.
Many of LAb[au]’s works originate from definitions specific to the field of art, such as the monochrome. This leads them to question the limits of language, since the meaning of the monochrome, the fascination of the void, is not described in its definition but can be apprehended only through a wider understanding of art. In this way, they address the tradition of painting through terminology while contextualizing it in its cultural perspective.
However, any language can be encoded into secondary media where the use of colours, shapes, patterns, etc. forms a visual language. LAb[au] utilizes these different media while speaking of syntax, grammar and vocabulary. In so doing, they further research possible ways to translate, transcode different artistic expressions from one media into another.
Like a lexicographer, LAb[au] deploys arrays of books, exploring the infinite combinations of shapes and indexing possible ways to fill, to blacken, an empty white page. Thus, their rule-based approach questions the materiality, process and concept of art. LAb[au]’s practice is rooted in the tradition of conceptual art, where tautologies and fundamental units such as space and time constitute the artistic vocabulary. Through the use of algorithms the artists contextualize these notions in our contemporary world.
The exhibition title If Then Else is an expression in programming logic, a conditional statement stemming from language philosophy. Accordingly, propositional logic allows relating algorithmic and conceptual thinking through linguistics – which constitutes the focus of the exhibition.