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Tàpies. Wood, Papers, Cardboards and Collages

The title of the exhibition comes from a book by Joan Teixidor published in 1964, in the context of an exhibition of cardboards, papers, wood works and collages by Antoni Tàpies, that took place at the Sala Gaspar, Barcelona. Being at the centre of Tàpies artistic and philosophical way of thinking, getting to know this facet of his work will help us understand his oeuvre as a whole. Featuring around thirty drawings and wood works from the 1960s and 70s belonging to the Fundació’s Collection, together with some national and international loans, the aim of the exhibition is to show works that have been rarely seen and remain mostly unknown to this day. 

Tàpies’ early works were essentially drawings and cardboards. Drawing allowed him to dissociate himself from the traditional practice of painting with a brush and work with ‘harder’ tools such as pencils, burins, scissors and spatulas. In Tàpies’ works from the 1960s and 70s, drawing is closely linked to collage, assemblage and grattage, to the act of tearing, folding and manipulating the materials so they take centre stage in the work. Tàpies believed that all materials have within them the power to transmit many sorts of concepts and, therefore, he chose them depending on what he wanted to communicate. Paper and cardboard in particular evoked themes that he considered important, such as humility, fragility, poverty, simplicity, degradation and pain. Through drawing, he found a more experiential and expressive form, albeit not so spectacular.

The exhibition focuses on the precariousness of his materials, the imprint left by the artist and the message he wanted to communicate, because it was through this type of work that Tàpies could more precisely transmit the anxiety he felt when faced with the excesses of contemporary culture: the abundance of ambient noise, the superficiality and triviality, the pounding impact of commercials, the lack of time for reflection. 

Tàpies, the centenary of whose birth we will celebrate at the end of the year, used the tools of art to make us aware of the world around us and to invite us to imagine another possible world. Time has gone by, but the urgency is still the same. Those tools, perfectly calibrated, can still be useful to us.



[Imatge: Antoni Tàpies, Paper rosa (Pink Paper), 1967. © Comissió Tàpies / vegap, 2023.]


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