Mayoral is pleased to present Tàpies Today, a monographic exhibition devoted to Antoni Tàpies which follows the artist’s creative trajectory and argues for the validity and relevance of his work today. Arnau Puig, a friend of the artist and an expert in his work since the creation of the group Dau al Set, is the curator of the show.
The exhibition includes a fine selection of twelve medium and large format paintings, created between the end of the 1950s and the start of the twenty-first century, which permit the viewer to appreciate the evolution of Tàpies’s informal art. These are materic spaces, conscious and gestural amalgams that become objects of their own volition. In the words of the curator, the pictures are “pure emotional expression; a clamour of sorts,” and not only do they respond to the individual subjectivity of the artist, they also communicate a critical attitude vis-à-vis a specific socio-political and geographical context. Social impact and political commitment are expressed in an execution founded on emotional projection and individual historical perception. As Arnau Puig points out: “Tàpies, has created each work in pursuit, and as an investigation, of a peace he needed with regard to a conflictive environment; certainly for him. Or for those—once again—who might identify with it: Nuat (Knotted) (1997).”
In visual terms the artist utilizes an experimental symbolic language—already present in his first purely informal works, such as Matèria negra sobre sac (Black Matter on Sack) (1960)—combining this, as time goes by, with the assemblage of objects and different materials, as can be seen in Diaris amuntegats(Piled-up Newspapers) (1969), Ocre amb sis collages (Ochre with Six Collages) (1973) and Cadira i fustes (Chair and Pieces of Wood) (2002).
Not only is Tàpies’s pertinence manifested in his revolutionary visual language—it is also present in his humanist vision; in the vindication of emotion and poetry; in the introduction of Eastern philosophies with a magisterial use of empty space as a further element in the canvas —Forats i claus sobre blanc (Holes and Nails on White) (1968)—, and in his civic and social commitment. An oeuvre, in short, that goes on asking questions and addressing viewers in the twenty-first century.
A catalogue has been published for the exhibition which, along with the curator’s essay, includes two new readings of works in the show, written by curators Laura Copelin and Elise Lammer. The publication also includes a series of interviews with the four directors of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies from its inception until now—Manuel Borja-Villel, Nuria Enguita, Laurence Rassel and Carles Guerra—undertaken by the cultural consultant Llucià Homs. Also reproduced in the catalogue are two pictures that were featured in the 1958 Venice Biennale: Rectangles (Rectangles) (1958) and Oval gris morat (Purple-Gray Oval) (1958), the latter to be shown in the TEFAF Maastricht fair this spring, coinciding with Tàpies Today at the Mayoral art gallery.