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"Antoni Tapies - A Retrospective"
2000-05-26 until 2000-08-13
Haus der Kunst
The retrospective organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in
Madrid is the most comprehensive exhibition of Antoni Tapies' work to have ever
been shown. With 90 works from public and private collections from throughout the
world, it presents a survey of the artist's work from the mid-forties until today.
If one was to try to define Antoni Tąpies' contribution to the aesthetics of the 20th
century with one term, one would have to refer to his particular treatment of
texture and material, which lends his paintings the unmistakable character of a
wall, Spanish: tapia. As Tąpies himself once wrote in an essay Communicacio sobre
el mur, he early recognized the expressive richness that lies in this motif. Although
the tapia, the wall, first blocks access and vision-the anti-Renaissance image par
excellence--it is also a background for graffiti and the effects of the passing of time.
Tąpies' image of the wall with its name tapia that was strikingly similar to his own,
took on a magical character that was to be evident in all his paintings.
There is no formal analysis of the aesthetic possibilities of matter by Tąpies: he
continually searches for its magical qualities and its potential to be transformed. It
is not the walls' plasticity of texture or harmony of color that is of major
importance, it is Tąpies' endeavor to depict the continuity of physical matter: the
difference between an object and its substance becomes blurred. These paintings,
these walls indicate a constantly changing and transmuting world, which the
artist/alchemist has given a form at a particular chosen moment.