Matèria en forma de peu (Matter in the Form of a Foot)
Mixed media on canvas
130 x 162 cm
Tàpies rejects any canon of ideal beauty and attempts to break its basic postulates by deliberately choosing subjects traditionally considered to be disagreeable and fetishistic: a defecating anus, a discarded shoe, a foot, and others. The image of the foot is especially representative in that it was used by him before his first matter pieces and has continued to be used until the present day in different guises, from the iconic representation of a single foot to the depiction of a footprint. For him, the foot is something humble and passive, related more to the materiality of the earth than to the spirituality of thought. The foot in Matèria en forma de peu (Matter in the Form of a Foot, 1965) does not represent a terse and attractive surface, but rather something dirty and swollen, apparently covered with corns and scars. It no longer appears to be “useful” and therefore stands in opposition to any ideology of production.
Tàpies has reiterated that his motivation consists of a reassessment of these objects condemned to disuse. His message centres on the revaluation of lowly things, of what is repulsive and material. Matter is the substantial element of life; for this reason the mission of intellectuals and artists is to give expression to a materialist perspective of the world
Extracts from Manuel J. Borja-Villel, “The Collection”, Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 1990)