press release

A retrospective exhibition containing a selection of over 150 works by Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona, 1923), from the forties to the present, some of them little known until now. Through paintings, objects, sculptures and drawings, this show, the most complete ever, will be exploring Tàpies' material nature as a fundamental principle for understanding his work, his influence and his place in the history of contemporary art.

If we had to choose a single element to represent Tàpies' contribution to the aesthetics of the century, we would have to refer to his special treatment of materials, his constant search for the material nature of the work of art. Tàpies developed this aspect fundamentally through the so-called matière paintings, with their densely textured surfaces, painted with a limited range of colours, predominantly ochres, greys and browns, which are reminiscent of a wall.

The fundamental feature of those 'walls' is not the visual aspects derived from the qualities of the materials or the shades of colour. Neither the object represented nor the signs scrawled on them are important in themselves. The essence of these works are the intentional elements with which the artist informs the material, the shapes it acquires, the signs printed on it.

The artist's aim is for the spectator to perceive the material in a state of constant movement and change, a state opposed to the fragmentation and compartmentalisation of the contemporary world. Astride two worlds, one linked to the great rhetorical or idealistic figures of the middle of the century and the other which opened paths towards new artistic practices more connected with activity and process, Tàpies' work is still relevant today due to its radical ambiguity. In all its manifestations, whether painting, assemblage, ceramics or graphics, his output always maintains a tension between its object and material aspects (his paintings are both paintings and objects, and his sculptures are both objects and paintings) and the ones concerned with the composition itself. Pressetext

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Antoni Tàpies - Retrospektive
Kurator: Manuel Borja-Villel
Production: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona