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Antoni Tàpies. Head arms legs body

The exhibition Antoni Tàpies. Head arms legs body focuses on the last thirteen years of the artist’s production. The main theme of the exhibition is the body. Starting with the self-portraits of his youth, the first paintings, and also in the works in varnish from the 1980s and nineties, among others, Antoni Tàpies wrestled incessantly with the representation of his existen-tial condition of man and painter.

The late works condense the brutality and direct representation of the early works, inscribed in the movements of appeasement. In tension between trace and matter, both interdependent of the other in his practice, Tàpies builds a body of work that troubles the gaze, but which is also obsessed with the materiality – the «paste like quality», as he calls it – of the painter’s work. Matter is thickness, flesh; it can be scraped, pierced, opened, covered or naked.

Antoni Tàpies. Head arms legs body appeals to a sensorial experience of the object and the situation. Being able to walk around some works, feel their weight, their thickness and materiality, to stand next to them or behind them, invites viewers to use their own physical presence in order to see. Visitors progress from brutal and monumental confrontations with the works on wood facing them to an intimate rapport with the works on paper.

The materiality of painting is also that of drawing. Through writing, the frottages, the marks and the pattern of gesture, Tàpies transforms the nature of paper. For the artist, drawing is a way of cohabiting with meditation in his everyday life. His intimacy retakes the rythm of the common vocabulary: crosses, skulls, body parts, mathematical signs…

The selected works arise from the condition of a rite settled by an ageing artist, trapped in his body and mind, and yet eager to carry on working. Antoni Tàpies and his work maintained a debate with his own history, established a story of his relation to the world and his body that recovers the torments of fundamental human issues: death, life, sexuality.

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