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Tribute to Picasso

Fundació Antoni Tàpies has mounted a display of the preparatory sketches for Homenatge a Picasso (Tribute to Picasso, 1981), thereby contributing to the initiative of Barcelona City Council, which has just had the monument restored.

In 1981, Antoni Tàpies was commissioned by Barcelona City Council to create a monument to Picasso, which was to stand at the junction of Passeig de Picasso and the pedestrian area that links the Santa Maria del Mar area with Ciutadella Park.

To this end, the artist designed an assemblage of furniture in a modernista style-a piece of furniture that is a sofa, mirror and cupboard combined, cut through by iron beams painted white, that calls to mind the period that Picasso spent living in Barcelona-that suggest the industrial Barcelona of the time. The conformist nature of a well-to-do society and the rebellion of another society in the throes of change are contrasted, thereby alluding in a symbolic way to Picasso’s non-conformism. Chairs piled on top of each other, tied together with ropes, white blankets laid out that carry quotations by Picasso at the bottom-in particular, the phrase that reads “a painting is not intended to decorate a drawing room but is instead a weapon of attack and defence against the enemy”, a declaration of principles that Tàpies adopts as his own in this monument and in his entire oeuvre-complete the work. A glass cube measuring 4 metres along each side covers the sculpture to protect it from the elements and seems to emerge from a square pool measuring 11 metres along each edge that acts as a base. Water emerges from the top of the cube and runs down its sides.

This Homenatge a Picasso (Tribute to Picasso) clearly reveals the thought that inspires Antoni Tàpies: that art can have a social function. The restoration of the monument, carried out by Pere Casanovas, has given the work back to the city of Barcelona.

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