Antoni Tàpies

Barcelona 1923 - 2012
“I think that a work of art should perplex the viewer, make him meditate on the meaning of life.”

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Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona, 1923-2012) will gain international recognition with his avant-garde works, which he created by increasing the iconographic factor and the magical theme. Initially influenced by Miró and Klee, in the 1950s Tàpies would create a series of images taken from his immediate surroundings that would appear at different stages of his evolution. Many times, the same image, in addition to being represented in different ways, will have multiple meanings. He was born into a wealthy Catalan family involved in the publishing world. He initiates his artistic attempts during his convalescence from a lung disease. His growing interest in the artistic field will make him abandon his university law studies to fully dedicate himself to his passion. In 1948, he co-founded a Spanish avant-garde artistic group, Dau al Set, which created a magazine of the same name. Over time he will incorporate geometrizing elements and color studies that will lead to an interest in matter, which translates into fabrics with intense textures and great expressive and communicative possibilities. Participating in a widespread sensitivity among artists on both sides of the Atlantic as a result of the disasters and consequences of the Second World War, the Catalan artist soon expressed in his work an interest in matter, earth and dust, using elements foreign to academic plastic expression. The material paintings will therefore form a substantial part of the artist's artistic corpus. Starting in the 1960s, his political commitment against the dictatorship intensified. It incorporates new iconographic elements (signs that allude to the reality of Catalonia, writing signs, etc.) and coinciding with the appearance of Arte Povera in Europe and Post-minimalism in the US, it also incorporates new technical procedures (new surfaces, use of everyday objects , etc). Tàpies's pictorial language has evolved since then and has resulted in a diversified and productive plastic creation admired around the world. Tàpies' work already achieved great international projection in the 1950s through the Martha Jackson galleries in New York and Maeght in Paris. He participated in the XXVI Venice Biennale in 1952 and in the IV São Paulo Biennale in 1957. His work has been exhibited in prestigious museums and art centers such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin; the Zurich Kunsthaus; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Serpentine Gallery, London; the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Jeu de Paume and the Center Pompidou in Paris; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, in Madrid; the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern, in Valencia and the Museu d'Art Contemporani in Barcelona, among many others.