Logo Fundació Antoni Tàpies

Antoni Tàpies. Theatre

This exhibition explores for the first time the relationship between Antoni Tàpies and the performing arts through paintings, drawings, prints and diverse documentary material. It includes several forms of collaboration with and evocation of the theatre world, and gives a prominent role to the set designs that Tàpies conceived. Tàpies’ theatrical projects are in tune with the main body of his work, since they employ the same materials and most of the images that interested him. However, avoiding spatial allusions typical of traditional scenographic language, they are more radical both in their approach and evocative capabilities.

Between 1961 and 1989, Tàpies created stage sets for five productions. With the first three, Or i sal (1961), Semimaru (1966) and L’armari en el mar (1978), he contributed to the regeneration of the Catalan theatre at a time when, freed of the onslaught of the Franco regime, it was aiming to connect with modernity and find its place within the European scene. Johnny va agafar el seu fusell (Johnny Got His Gun, 1989), premièred after the restoration of democracy at the Mercat de les Flors, one of the first public spaces dedicated to the performing arts. L’Éboulement (1982) was part of a theatrical experience developed in alternative spaces in Paris.

However, Tàpies’ relationship with the theatre is not limited to set designs alone, but takes various forms that are also present in the exhibition. Thus, reference is made to the collaborations on Joan Brossa’s first works for the stage, and to his participation in cabaret sessions in private homes. We see Tàpies’ interest in Italian actor and quick-change artist Leopoldo Fregoli, as well as his fascination with magic and opera. In this sense, the exhibition ends with the operatic project Cap de mirar, which was to have been premièred at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in 1991.

It also includes a selection of Tàpies’ works made at the same time as his set-designs and closely related in terms of the materials used, the similarity with a theatrical curtain and the way the artist exposes the painting’s stretcher as if it were the backstage. The relationship between these works and his theatrical collaborations confirms the fact that Tàpies remained within the parameters of his artistic personality.