Logo Fundació Antoni Tàpies

Zoom, 1946

Oli and whiting on canvas
65 x 54 cm

One of the earliest works in the Fundació Antoni Tàpies collection is Zoom, painted in 1946. Given its frontal character, and even in the use the artist makes of materials (...), this painting (...) refers rather to the visceral primitivism of children’s art or the art of the mentally sick that seemed to be reclaimed in the postwar period in European artistic circles, especially in those related to Art Brut.

As in all primitivism, what is expressed in Zoom is a rejection of modern civilization. The work reveals the desire to return to a pre-industrial world, in which one assumes that there is a more intimate relationship with nature. What seems to be a human face is turned upside-down, and from it radiates a series of beams of light. In this way matter and form appear to meld into a single continuum. The face is dehumanised and acquires the form of an astral being that seems to be prior not only to industrial civilisation but also to the existence of any organised life on earth. (...) In this sense, as well as in that of the simultaneous use of two modes of representation - the iconic (face) and the index (handprints) - and the use of materials, this work is a direct forerunner of his matter paintings. (...)

The theme of the separated head (...) is a characteristic of Tàpies’ painting from this period (...) In Symbolist literature this motif represents everything that is spiritual, in opposition to the material elements of the human being.

Extracts from Manuel J. Borja-Villel, "The Collection", Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona: Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 1990)

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