Analia Saban. Quantifiable

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‘Quantifiable’, Analia Saban’s sixth exhibition at Praz Delavallade
Paris, questions the legibility—and, by extension, the legitimacy—
of various kinds of statistical graphics. Working with paint, canvas
and hunks of minerals, Saban evokes pie charts and line graphs
typically seen in newspapers, medical journals or corporate
earnings reports. What, if anything, is being measured by these
large-scale, tactile graphs and charts remains a mystery. Instead
of representing specific data points, these works examine the very
notion of what it means to be « quantifiable. »

The weavings and sculpture presented in this exhibition are
like Rorschach ink blot tests in that they reveal more about the
viewer’s psyche than the outside world. Looking at any one
work on view, two people might have entirely different inklings
about what kind of data is ostensibly being charted. The steep
downward sloping red line in Market Trend #5932, (2022),
could just as easily represent a drop in Covid-19 cases or a
crashing stock market. Such discrepancies expose a link between
presumed objective metrics and highly subjective abstractions.
Playing on our ability—indeed our inclination—to attach meaning
to a random curved line, Saban reminds us that bias is always
at play when it comes to collecting, presenting and interpreting

In addition to acting as a kind of projective psychological test,
Saban’s wood and rock sculpture, free-hanging tapestries
and panel-mounted weavings have an intrinsic art historical
context in which they resemble some Minimalist paintings and
sculptures from the 1960s and 1970s. The bowed lines charting
a path of unspecified data along unidentified «X» and «Y» axes
recall Robert Mangold’s linear vocabulary and Ellsworth Kelly’s
curvaceous forms. The equally enigmatic pie charts call to mind
methodical studies of circles and circle segments by Sol LeWitt
or François Morellet. And a three-dimensional graph whose highs
and lows are illustrated with peaked fragments of red and green
marble evokes some of Dewain Valentine’s colorful high-gloss
sculptures. Such formal comparisons support the notion that data
analysis is more abstract than we might like to think.

With the exception of Volatility, (2022), all of the works on view
were produced on a Jacquard loom using linen and acrylic
«threads», which Saban makes by brushing long strokes of acrylic
paint on a flat surface and peeling these off once they’ve dried.

This technique complicates her final works’ formal affinities with
Minimalism and also challenges traditional categories of artmaking. Whether these works are considered paintings, weavings
or something else entirely could have quantifiable ramifications
when it comes to contemporary conversations about fine art vs.
craft. And while today’s art market largely values paintings over
weavings, Saban’s artworks are in fact reminders that this was
not always the case. In the Middle Ages and early Renaissance
tapestries were the ultimate luxury, more valuable at that time than
paintings. When it comes to being «quantifiable», art—like data—
is very much a matter of context and bias.

(Mara Hoberman)

Analia Saban (born in 1980 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) lives and
works in Los Angeles. She received a BFA in Visual Arts from
Loyola University in New Orleans in 2001, followed by an MFA in
New Genres at the University of California in Los Angeles in 2005.
Saban’s work is included in numerous collections: the Hammer
Museum at UCLA, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Los Angeles
County Museum of Art in Los Angeles; Hessel Museum of Art at
Bard College in New York; Norton Museum of Art in Florida; Centre
Pompidou in Paris, and Fundación Proa in Buenos Aires, among

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