March 02, 2013


1 March 2013 – 9 June 2013

1 March 2013 – 9 June 2013
Antoni Tàpies, Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys, James Lee Byars, Dan Graham, León Ferrari, Gerhard Merz, Richard Artschwager, Hanne Darboven, Marcel Broodthaers, Art & Language, Valie Export, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Carlos Pazos, Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, Enrico Donati, Oriol Vilapuig, Helen Levitt, Gordon Matta-Clark, Richard Long, Joan Colom, David Hockney, Bruce Nauman, David Wojnarowicz, Vicente Vázquez/Usue Arrieta, Luis Guerra, Álvaro Perdices, Thomas Hirschhorn, Henri Michaux, Robert Frank, Osvaldo Lamborghini, Martin Kippenberger, Jean Dubuffet, Hans Hartung, Jean Fautrier, Otto Wols, Georges Mathieu, Georges Bataille, Pep Agut, Isaías Griñolo.
Against Tàpies is a proposal originating from three questions formulated by immediate confrontation: a) what tensions and links did Tàpies’ work maintain with the successive artistic movements to which it has been assigned? b) how could artists from a different moment and with radically different aesthetic paradigms establish a dialogue and critical exhortation with Tàpies? c) did Tàpies fantasise, as Borges did, that all epic literature concerning himself and his oeuvre was addressing someone else other than himself?
a) The first of these questions comes from a fact easily verifiable from a historiographical point of view: from the early eighties, when Tàpies acquires the status of ‘celebrated painter’, his work begins to pull away from the cutting edge and stands back from much contemporary art practices. The truth is that with the exception of some examples from the sixties and seventies, Tàpies’ work was never shown in dialogue with other artists outside the pictorial medium or who were not familiar to historicist criteria; however, after reaching a significant status in the system of national and international art, his work was framed, from a museum perspective, within strictly chronological exhibition formats or, on the contrary, revisionist perspectives regarding his own production. The consequences of this isolation opposing successive curatorial narratives are significant: Tàpies’ trajectory was deprived of the variety of display devices that would have updated and incited a confrontation with other artists, thus reinforcing a solipsistic and repetitive impression, through which a interpretive narrative marked by heroism and disconnection was consolidated.
b) If the first question posited above seems to force us to recap the journey of Tàpies, the second question invites us to reflect on its present position, about the openings through which artists can still question it. Obviously Tàpies holds a prominent position in Spanish art from the second half of the twentieth century and an outstanding position in an international context, but, precisely for that reason, for thirty years, and especially within the field of Catalan and Spanish painting, approaching or distancing Tàpies, embracing certain mannerism linked to his oeuvre or employing aesthetic and opposing paradigms, has resulted in a sort of unspoken trauma diluted only in the nineties, after successive exhibitions held in his own foundation set new thematic paradigms with which his work could be revalued.
In this sense, a glimpse into the national pictorial practices of the seventies is enough to demonstrate how much the ‘style’ of the artist was in opposition to those current at the time. Alternatively, if we analyse the ‘return to painting’ in the eighties, at least in its native version, we can verify how Tàpies was an expressive plastic and genealogical model that was, moreover, surprisingly literal.
However, for later artists or those who were not so influenced by the local art scene, Tàpies has been a reference without these connotations, inviting us to think that, through their efforts, other perspectives, forms of dispute, confrontations and antagonisms could be inaugurated, arising from a certain commonplace and attentive to issues less identified by both public and media with the painter from Barcelona.
c) Finally, the third question asked on this project regards the construction of a stereotypical stylistic identity that runs through the work of Tàpies, bringing some formal linearity. Thus, compared to the successive stages of his oeuvre – the early self-portraits, the magic realism of the forties, the Informalist matter paintings of the fifties, the expressionistic figuration of the sixties, the political involvements of the seventies and the objectualism of the eighties, before reaching apotheosis in the unlabelled work of later periods – many breaks in the line of argument emerge in the work of Tàpies. These works appear to have been made by other artists, as if Tàpies needed to escape his plastic personality by assuming the most diverse guises of other creators. Thus, paradoxically, within Tàpies’ oeuvre we find his own antithesis; canvases that reference the Mexican muralists, resemble a kind of Futurism, refer to Pop art or to postmodern illustration. David Hockney, Diego Rivera, Raymond Pettibon and Giacomo Balla are just a few of the ‘heteronyms’ adopted by Tàpies, who with this artistic division seems to be playing a joke on historiography and stylistic consistency.
I may recommend to read my latest news about Antoni Tapies and Antoni Tapies exhibition at Timothy Taylor Gallery. You may reach the news to link below web pages.

AT 2006





The Fundació Antoni Tàpies was created in 1984 by the artist Antoni Tàpies to promote the study and knowledge of modern and contemporary art.
To that end, the Fundació opened its doors in June 1990 in the building of the former Editorial Montaner i Simon publishing house, the work of the Modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, restored and refurbished by the architects Roser Amadó and Lluís Domènech Girbau. Constructed between 1880 and 1885, at an early stage of the evolution of Catalan Modernism, the building was the first in the Example district to integrate industrial typology and technology, combining exposed brick and iron, into the fabric of the city centre.
The Fundació Antoni Tàpies takes a plural, inter disciplinary approach and aims to set up cooperative ventures with experts in different fields of learning to contribute to a better understanding of contemporary art and culture. It combines the organisation of temporary exhibitions, symposia, lectures and film seasons with a range of publications to go with the activities and periodic shows of Antoni Tàpies’ work. The Fundació owns one of the most complete collections of Tàpies’ work, mostly made up of donations by Antoni and Teresa Tàpies.
The Library of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies is in the old Editorial Montaner i Simon warehouse; the original shelves have been conserved. The Library specialises in modern and contemporary art. It also houses the largest archive on Tàpies’ work, collections on Asian and Pre-Columbian arts and culture as well as the arts of Africa and Oceania which have had such a great influence on the evolution of 20th century art. Other subjects, such as architecture, design, the decorative arts, photography, film and video are also represented. The initial core donated by Antoni Tàpies has been enlarged with recent and historical publications and international videos and magazines, which help to swell an ever-increasing collection.






OVAL 1986



The work of Antoni Tàpies investigates the existential ‘void’ and his diverse creative output shares a clear unifying quality: the suggestion of something that lies beyond the material world but is only sensed in its absence.
Tàpies’s early life in Catalonia during the Spanish Civil War, coupled with the religious education he received, had a profound impact on his artistic development. His political and spiritual outlook was further cultivated during an extended period of illness in 1940 – a time when he reproduced paintings by Van Gogh and Picasso, and read philosophical texts by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer whilst recovering.
Tàpies’s early work drew inspiration from ‘primitive’ children’s art and the Surrealists, whose work he was introduced to by Spanish art journals. Later, Tàpies was drawn to the Art Informel movement and in turn Abstract Expressionism, whilst exhibiting for the first time in New York in 1953. This new style, corporeal and visceral, expressed the artist’s unquenchable thirst to reflect the unsettling incertitude of the human condition.
Tàpies’s frequent use of assemblage became a signature of his work, particularly the recurring use of windows, doors and beds. Their familiar and humble attributes reflect Tàpies’s deep concern with a personal yet universal introspection, catalysed by the spirituality of the material world.
Tàpies’s work is included in numerous public and private collections internationally including Tate Galleries, UK; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, Rome; Le Centre Pompidou, Paris; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
In 2013 Tàpies was the subject of a series of major museum surveys: Contra Tàpies and Tàpies: Des de l’interior at the Fundació Antoni Tàpies, the latter in collaboration with MNAC Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya; TÀPIES: The eye of the artist, Palazzo Fortuny, Venice coinciding with the Venice Biennale; and Antoni Tàpies: From Object to Sculpture, 1964– 2009, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain.
Tàpies represented Spain in the 45th Venice Biennale in 1993 and was awarded the Golden Lion. He exhibited extensively throughout his career, showing work at the Venice Biennale on a number of occasions, as well as Documenta and the Carnegie International. Notable solo exhibitions include retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1962 and 1995); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1973); Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1974); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, which later traveled to Chicago, San Antonio, Iowa, and Montreal (1977); and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (1990).
Antoni Tàpies was born in Barcelona in 1923. He died in 2012 at the age of 88.