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Tàpies. The Zen Imprint

This exhibition will focus on Tàpies’ interest in the work of certain Japanese monks from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries who helped spread the teachings of Zen Buddhism, and who developed a critical attitude and a willingness to upset conventional values – including those of artistic practice – such as Hakuin, Sengai, Jiun, Torei and Rengetsu. The exhibition will show how Tàpies integrated into his language, and into his own strand of the Western tradition, many of the attitudes, images and techniques that these artists used. It was never a process of mimesis, but rather the assimilation of a way of working, and also of a vision of the world that the Japanese tradition has preserved in temples and gardens, poems and calligraphy, ceramics and paintings.

This influence is evident in Tàpies’ works from the 1970s, and especially from the 1980s, when he recovered the brushstroke, which he had previously abandoned in his working practice, associating it with inscriptions, writing and ideograms. From that moment on, his paintings became less wall-like and closer to drawing. The exhibition at the Fundació will bring together a selection of works – including paintings, ceramics and drawings from the Collection’s fonds, together with national and international loans – that will show how Tàpies’ approach to Japanese art left its mark on his work.

[Image: Antoni Tàpies. Trio, 1994. © Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona/vegap. Photography: © Gasull Fotografia, 2023.]

[Images of the exhibition Tàpies. The Zen Imprint. © Barcelona/vegap, 2024. Photography: Fundació Antoni Tàpies.]

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